Mon, 25 Sep 2023

Paris [France], June 4 (ANI): Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic reached his record 17th quarter-final in the French Open 2023 with a win over Juan Pablo Varillas on Sunday, reported ATP.com.

Djokovic eased past his opponent by a margin of 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Djokovic crushed his No. 94-ranked opponent, Juan Pablo Varillas on Court Philippe Chatrier, striking the ball cleanly from both wings throughout his one-hour, 57-minute triumph.

He hit 35 winners and converted six of his 12 break opportunities to advance to the final eight in Paris, where he will face Karen Khachanov.

"[There was] great energy on the court, from the crowd and myself as well. I really enjoyed it, my best performance in the tournament so far. It came exactly at the right time, as I am coming in to the second week and obviously playing another quarter-final, the matches are going to get tougher. Bigger challenges, but I like the way I am playing and the way I am feeling, so I look forward to a new challenge," said Djokovic as quoted by ATP.

Djokovic has three reasons to compete for the championship in Paris. A third Roland Garros title would also mark Djokovic's record 23rd major triumph, while collecting the trophy would also restore him to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

"I am definitely better than I did in the last couple of months. The past 10 days have been the best that I have felt since the Australian Open, so that is good. That is positive news. I just have to keep going and not allow myself to think too far [ahead], but I am on a good path," said the Serbian star.

Khachanov progressed to his third consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final by defeating Lorenzo Sonego 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-1.

The 11th-seeded Khachanov soon fell down against the ultra-aggressive Sonego, but after squaring the match by claiming the sole break of the second set, he staged a key comeback in the third-set tie-break to take control of the contest.

Khachanov recovered from 0/4 to 6/7 before winning, and then controlled the third set for a three-hour, 29-minute victory.

Khachanov, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open last year and the Australian Open in January, concluded the match with 36 wins and 34 unforced mistakes. He is currently 21-6 at Roland Garros, where he reached the quarterfinals last year.

"He was 6-1, 2-1, and I think that was a long game on my serve... I was a little bit surprised, because he was so energised," said Khachanov during the post-match press conference. "Putting all the balls in, aggressive, drop shots, serves, returns.""I just had to stay into the match. I had to stay focused and to try to change something and basically to maintain the level and see if he can continue playing like this during three consecutive sets or not. That was the goal in that moment," added the player.

On the other side, Carlos Alcaraz delivered on his revenge mission at Roland Garros on Sunday, defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in a thrilling fourth-round performance at the clay-court major.

After dropping the first two games of the match, the Spaniard won 18 of the next 23 to complete a two-hour, eight-minute triumph. Alcaraz powered into his second consecutive Roland Garros quarter-final by clubbing the ball with purpose from both wings from the baseline and regularly displaying his delicate touch at the net.

"I think I played such a great level," said Alcaraz during the on-court interview.

"A really high quality of shots, playing really aggressive. I think I played a really complete match, [from the] first ball to the last one, and I'm really happy to get through this really tough round against Lorenzo," he added.

Musetti had beaten Alcaraz on clay in the pair's only prior ATP Head2Head match, in the Hamburg final in July, but despite a promising start on Court Philippe-Chatrier, he never appeared poised to duplicate that outcome. Alcaraz outhit Musetti 42 to 17 and converted seven of the 14 break points he gained to advance to the quarter-finals against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Sebastian Ofner.

With his victory, Alcaraz extended his Grand Slam winning run to 11 matches. The 2022 US Open winner is presently 34-3 on the season, including a 24-2 record on clay. His recent triumph leaves the Spaniard on pace to retain his World No. 1 ranking, with Novak Djokovic attempting to unseat him by claiming the trophy himself. (ANI)

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