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Novak Djokovic sets Rafael Nadal clash


World no. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Diego Schwartzman for the seventh time in as many encounters to reach the Roland Garros quarter-final. Thus, the Serb advanced to his 16th Roland Garros quarter-final and the 13th in a row since 2010.

Djokovic became the fourth player with 16 quarter-finals at a single Major after Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The Argentine challenged the Serb in Paris five years ago, leading two sets to one before falling in five sets.

He could not repeat that this year, as Novak scored a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 triumph in two hours and 15 minutes. Djokovic defended seven out of eight break points to keep the pressure on the other side. Novak took over half of the return points and turned them into six breaks from 11 opportunities.

Djokovic had a similar number of winners and unforced errors, and Schwartzman could not follow that pace after counting almost 50 unforced mistakes. They stayed close to each other in the most extended rallies. Novak took charge in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to control the pace and set a blockbuster quarter-final clash against Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic notched his 16th Roland Garros quarter-final.

Djokovic saved a couple of break chances in the opener’s third game to avoid an early setback. He grabbed a break at 15 in the next one after the rival’s loose forehand and forged the advantage.

Pushing strong on the return, the Serb seized the fourth break chance in the sixth game after the Argentine’s double fault to open a 5-1 gap and serve for the set. Djokovic held at love with a service winner to wrap up the opener 6-1 in 35 minutes and gain a boost.

Schwartzman broke in the second set’s second game after Djokovic’s forehand error and brought the next one home to open a handful 3-0 lead. The defending champion pulled a break back in game five with a forehand winner and erased three break points in the next one to lock the result at 3-3.

With momentum on his side, Novak broke at love a few minutes later after Diego’s wayward forehand to move ahead. Losing ground in those moments, Schwartzman got broken for the third straight time at 3-5 after a forced error and allowed Djokovic to rattle off six consecutive games and forge a massive advantage.

Novak fended off a break chance in the third set’s fifth game and made a crucial break in the next one after Diego’s loose backhand. The Argentine saved a match point in game eight after the Serb’s poor backhand to prolong his chances before Novak emerged at the top with a hold at love at 5-3.



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