Novak Djokovic is keeping on his powerhouse roll that has kept him the number one ranked tennis player in the world for over 148 weeks now after defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday at the 2015 French Open. The Serb is determined to grab his first Roland Garros title, but he’s on a crash course with Rafael Nadal, who wants to get his tenth unprecedented title. Naturally, we’re hoping to see them on the court battling it out as they will be fighting to the end for this one before going on to possibly take on Roger Federer.
Ranked 84th, Kokkinakis never stood a chance against the top-ranked Serb. He dropped his serve three times and could not force a single break point in a match lasting 1 hour, 49 minutes. The Serb hit 34 winners to just 12 unforced errors as he claimed the pair’s first meeting.
Djokovic is on a 25-match winning streak. Since finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in the Dubai final in February, the right-hander has lifted trophies at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo and Rome. Indeed, he has lost just two matches this season; his other defeat coming in the first week of the year against Ivo Karlovic in the Doha quarter-finals.
Next up for Djokovic is No. 20 Richard Gasquet of France, who played later Saturday and beat No. 15 seed Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-4. The 28-year-old Djokovic is looking to win Roland Garros for the first time and become just the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam after Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal and Fred Perry.
Earlier, two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray extended his impressive winning streak on clay, reaching the fourth round after beating big-hitting Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
The third-seeded Briton, who lost in the semifinals last year against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, was hardly troubled on court Suzanne Lenglen.
After Kyrgios saved a first match point with a stunning forehand at the net, Murray took his next chance by returning a serve with a powerful two-handed backhand from the back of the court that zipped past the Australian.
He beat the 29th-seeded Kyrgios for the second straight Grand Slam, having knocked him out of the Australian at the quarterfinal stage earlier this year, and has not dropped a set against him in three meetings.
Next up for Murray, who hasn’t lost a match on clay this season with titles in Munich and Madrid, is Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who beat 17th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
’’This is the best I have played on clay. The results would obviously suggest that. Never won a clay court tournament, never been to the final and had many wins against any of the top guys for a while on clay,’’ Murray said. ’’Obviously in Madrid, I managed to do that against Kei (Nishikori), Milos (Raonic), and against Rafa.’’
U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic also advanced to the fourth round in style with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win against No. 23 Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, while in the women’s draw fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and former finalist Sara Errani of Italy both advanced. But 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone went out.
Later, Nadal was playing against 120th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov, while top-ranked Serena Williams was facing two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.
Under bright sunshine, Kyrgios entertained the crowd more than he threatened Murray.
After retrieving a good lob with a superb shot through his legs, he then raised his arms in triumph to milk the point..
Under the watchful eye of coach Amelie Mauresmo — a two-time Grand Slam winner – Murray broke in the seventh game to lead 4-3, and overcame a brief wobble in the next game.
Trailing 15-40, he saved two break points, the second with a flicked backhand lob from the back of the court that drew enthusiastic applause.
Kyrgios, when 5-2 down in the second set and after dropping his serve for the second time, called for some medical assistance. Briefly, he wore some white strapping on his wrist and elbow.
’’I wasn’t near 100 percent. Not to take anything from him. He played unbelievable,’’ Kyrgios said. ’’I will do everything I can to get ready for Wimbledon. I think that’s my best chance to win a Grand Slam.’’
Kyrgios held at the start of the third set after saving three break points and then broke Murray’s serve with a whipped forehand from the back of the court that whizzed past Murray before he could get across to it.
But, after Murray broke straight back, Kyrgios whacked a ball angrily out of the court.
The other teenager in the third round, 18-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia, was facing American Jack Sock.
Meanwhile, Kvitova — the reigning Wimbledon champion and a French Open semifinalist three years ago – won 6-3, 6-2 against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, seeded 30th. Errani, seeded 17th, beat No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-3, 6-3 and Schiavone lost 7-5, 6-4 to Andreea Mitu of Romania.
Madison Keys, a 16th-seeded American, lost 6-4, 6-2 to 23rd-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky