• French Open, Day Six

Djokovic saunters into last 16 in double-quick time

ESPN staff
June 1, 2012

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Novak Djokovic remained on course for his first French Open crown after ruthlessly dispatching Nicolas Devilder to move serenely into the last 16.

The world No. 1, bidding to become the first man to hold all four grand slams at the same time since Rod Laver in 1969, was in no mood to hang around on Court Suzanne Lenglen - the Serb blasting his way past a dumbfounded Devilder 6-1 6-2 6-2 in an hour and 44 minutes.

After a shaky opening game, Djokovic powered a forehand winner to bring up three break points in his opponent's first service game. An ace staved off the immediate threat but a double fault straight after handed the early initiative to a focused Djokovic after only 12 minutes of action.

Djokovic clearly did not want to have to return on Saturday and proceeded to unload ferocious groundstrokes in an attempt to blow his inferior opponent off the court. His aggressive tactics soon told as Devilder buckled under the unrelenting pressure, the French qualifier spraying wide to hand Djokovic a double break.

The top seed stretched his lead to 5-0 before Devilder saved face by registering on the scoreboard with an ace in game six. His joy was short-lived, however, as Djokovic claimed the first set in half an hour.

Such was his desire to get the match over with as quickly as possible, Djokovic was not infallible and every so often let his opponent off the hook with an overzealous return. Indeed, the biggest cheer of the match occurred early in the second when, trailing 0-1, the crowd were treated to a rare moment of surprise when Devilder cracked a blistering forehand winner down the line to break the world No. 1.

From there it was one-way traffic, with Djokovic breaking twice to open up a two-set cushion. Djokovic refused to take his foot off the pedal, putting away an easy volley to break again at the start of the third. Devilder, urged on by a partisan home crowd, had moments to savour but even when he had Djokovic struggling the Serb closed out from 0-30 to firmly shut the door.

Trailing 1-4, Devilder forced two break points but Djokovic averted the danger and, shortly afterwards, the three-time semi-finalist held to love, closing out the match with a trademark bullet forehand to set up a clash with Andreas Seppi.

Italy's Seppi, the No. 22 seed, was pushed all the way by Fernando Verdasco before prevailing 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in just under three hours. Seppi amassed 57 winners en route to victory over the 14th seed and served warning of his volleying ability, winning 19 of 24 net points.

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