(Paris) Serbian Novak Djokovic broke a tie with rival Rafael Nadal on Sunday by reaching the Roland-Garros quarter-finals for the 17th time – a tournament record – thanks to an outright 6-3, 6 victory -2, 6-2 against the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas.
Djokovic, who won in 1 hour 57 minutes, could also overtake Nadal in an even more prestigious category: the number of triumphs in men’s singles at Grand Slam tournaments. Both players have 22.
In Djokovic’s case, that total includes clay-court crowns at Roland-Garros in 2016 and 2021. If he wins the tournament this year, Djokovic will become the first male tennis player to lift each other’s commemorative trophies. of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments at least three times.
Nadal has won French Open honors on 14 occasions, but is absent this year due to a hip injury for which he underwent arthroscopy on Friday night.
On a hot, sunny day on Sunday, Djokovic, unsurprisingly, was dominant on the court at the Philippe-Chatrier stadium. Ranked 94th in the world, Varillas had never won a match at a Grand Slam tournament before the current edition of the French Open.
The 36-year-old Serbian, seeded third in the tournament, completed the duel with more than double the winners – 35 against 15 – and three fewer unforced errors – 20 against 23.
Djokovic won 15 points in 17 net forays, and put in play 80% of his first serves. He converted six break points in 12 attempts and only lost serve once.
Djokovic, who has not conceded a set in four outings since the start of the tournament, will face 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov in his next game on Tuesday.
For Djokovic, it will be his 55th appearance in the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam tournament, a total surpassed by only one player, Roger Federer, who retired with 58 quarter-finals of a major tournament.
With a career 1-8 record against Djokovic, Khachanov reached this Grand Slam milestone for the fifth time in his career following a four-set victory of 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7), 6-1 against Lorenzo Sonego.
In other fourth round duels in the men’s singles, number one seeded Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz takes on Lorenzo Musetti while fifth seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Sebastian Ofner.
In the ladies, two players not ranked among the top seeds have reached the quarter-finals and will face each other. They are Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, finalist at Roland-Garros in 2021, and Karolina Muchova.
Pavlyuchenkova, who sat out the tournament last year due to a long absence due to a knee injury, beat a ranked player for the third game in a row. This time his victim was Elise Mertens (28th) against whom Pavlyuchenkova won 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
For her part, Muchova took the measure of Elina Avenesyan 6-4, 6-4. Avenesyan had been eliminated in the qualifying round, but found herself in the main draw following the withdrawal of Romanian Patricia Maria Tig.
Later on Sunday, second-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka will try to get the better of American Sloane Stephens.
Women’s doubles player Miyu Kato and her partner were forced to forfeit after Kato accidentally hit a ballboy in the neck after a point on Sunday.
In the second set of a match played on court 14, Kato swung her racket and the ball flew towards the ball boy, who was not looking in the direction of the player.
At first, chair umpire Alexandre Juge only gave the Japanese a warning. But after tournament referee Remy Azemar and Grand Slam supervisor Wayne McEwen went to court 14 to check on what had happened, Kato and his partner, Indonesian Aldila Sutjiadi, been disqualified.
Thus, the Czech Marie Bouzkova and the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo were declared victorious.
Bouzkova said she didn’t see the ball hit the ball boy, but added that “she cried for like 15 minutes.”
“It’s just a bad situation for everyone,” Bouzkova added. “But it’s something that I guess is in the regulations as such, although it’s very unfortunate for them. […] In the end, it was the decision of the referee. »