• French Open, Day Seven

Brilliant Djokovic dismantles Dimitrov

ESPN staff
June 1, 2013
Novak Djokovic looks a serious contender for the French Open title © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic provided an impressive performance to book a place in the French Open last 16, seeing off talented youngster Grigor Dimitrov with a classy 6-2 6-2 6-3 win.

However, Djokovic was then told that his first ever coach Jelena Gencic had died, aged 77, and as a result cancelled all of his post-match commitments.

While Rafael Nadal earlier won through without being at optimum performance, it looked quite the opposite for Djokovic as he simply did not let Dimitrov settle on the Phillipe Chatrier Court.

It was early advantage Djokovic after the world No. 1 broke in the very first game of the match, seizing the initiative with a routine hold to establish the lead.

Dimitrov, nicknamed the 'Baby Federer' got off the mark when Djokovic netted a forehand, but the Serb soon completed the double-break following a string of wayward shots from the Bulgarian.

A brief resistance from Dimitrov delayed the inevitable as he eventually slammed a forehand return into the net to give Djokovic the opening set.

Despite Dimitrov continuing to rack up the unforced errors, Djokovic reigned imperious and the second set became a similar procession to the first.

Working his way to three break points, Djokovic wowed the crowd when sprinting to the net and somehow managing to clip the ball over to secure three break points; he finally converted with a stunning forehand winner down the line.

Yet more errors from the world No. 28 handed Djokovic the double-break for a second time, before a loose backhand meant that 26-year-old Djokovic had secured the first two sets quicker than Nadal had won one in the Spaniard's earlier showing.

Dimitrov struggled to click into top gear as Djokovic raced through the third with another double-break to all but end the tie and seal a place in the last 16. However, the Bulgarian finally converted a break of his own before holding to move within a game of his opponent.

A brief break in play saw both players receive treatment, with Djokovic requiring treatment on his back and shoulder. However, it did not stop the six time grand slam champion as another imperious hold game moved him within one of the match.

Dimitrov looked to have consigned himself to defeat and soon handed Djokovic two match points with a pair of unforced errors. However, the 22-year-old responded with two magnificent forehands to save the tie.

However it was all in vain as Djokovic succeeded at the fourth time of asking, laying down a serious marker to the rival Nadal's challenge for an eighth French Open title.

Djokovic will now face sixteenth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who defeated Romania's Victor Hanescu 6-0 7-6(0) 6-1 to advance.

Elsewhere, veteran Tommy Haas came through a thrilling encounter with John Isner to reach the French Open last 16 for the first time in his career. The 35-year-old was two sets to the good before 'Marathon Man' Isner hit back to level, somehow saving 12 match points to even the tie. However, Haas proved victorious in the 18th game of the fifth set, converting his 13th match point to finally see off the American.

Haas will now face Mikhail Youzhny, who enjoyed a shock win over eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic when defeating the Serb 6-4 6-4 6-3 on Court Seven.

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