World no.2 Novak Djokovic made a smooth progress into the third round at Roland Garros on Wednesday as he defeated Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
The defending champion advanced in two hours and six minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen, improving his perfect H2H record with the Portuguese to 4-0.
It was a solid performance by the second seed, who won 80% of points on his first serve and 10 of 15 trips to the net.
Novak got off to a strong start. He broke twice in the opening set and closed it after 32 minutes of play.
The second set was a closer affair. The two had traded breaks once before Djokovic broke his rival again for a two-set advantage.
Serving at 2-3 in the third set, Nole was challenged again. The 30-year-old Serbian star had to fight off a break point before ending the game with a forehand winner. He then managed to break Sousa in the seventh and ninth games to capture his 22nd win of the season.
“Great first set, pretty much done everything I wanted. Midway second set until maybe midway third set, that’s where I allowed him to believe more that he can get back into the match, and he started playing better. I felt like maybe I took off the foot from the gas a little bit. He used his opportunities very quick to run around his backhand. Very aggressive. Likes to play on clay. He can be dangerous. So I tried to take away that from him. In some important moments I was kind of hanging in there. Especially in the third set he missed an easy forehand maybe to go break up. It was quite close, especially in the third set. The way I ended the match and last couple of games was positive. The way I started, as well. Generally, I felt better than the first round, so that’s exactly what I wanted,” said Djokovic.
Match statistics: aces (2-2), double faults (1-2), winners (34-15), unforced errors (24-22) total points won (99-72).
Novak will now face Diego Schwartzman for a place in the last 16 (1-0 H2H). The Argentine beat Stefano Napolitano in straight sets earlier in the day.
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Photo: Icon Sport