Djokovic dismantles Carballes Baena to reach French Open third round

May 31, 2024 6:45 am

Novak Djokovic [Source: Reuters]

Defending champion Novak Djokovic was very briefly made to work hard by unseeded Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena before sealing a routine 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory and motoring into the French Open third round on Thursday.

Djokovic has been some way from his convincing best in an erratic season where he is bidding to win a record 25th Grand Slam title and the top-seeded Serbian was dragged into a battle by Carballes Baena after recovering an early break.

Having nosed ahead on serve in the ninth game, the 37-year-old Djokovic set up break point with a big overhead smash after a 24-shot rally and pounced to take the first set as spectators on Philippe Chatrier sensed a return to a more familiar level.

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Djokovic moved up a few notches in the next set for a 4-0 lead before his 31-year-old opponent even got on the board and the three-times Roland Garros champion tightened his vice-like grip on the contest in double quick time.

The pair’s previous two encounters were both at hardcourt Grand Slams but the outcome was no different on Parisian clay as Djokovic sauntered ahead 5-1 in the third set and wrapped up the victory in style.

Despite the near-flawless display, Djokovic stressed that he would continue keeping expectations low as he prepares to battle Frenchman Gael Monfils or Italian Lorenzo Musetti.