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Tennis world number one, Novak Djokovic has moved effortlessly into the French Open fourth round for the 12th successive year yesterday, setting up an intriguing duel against Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti.
In the other game, Elina Svitolina crashed out, leaving just three of the women’s top 10 seeds in the tournament.
World number one Djokovic, the champion in Paris in 2016 and chasing a 19th Grand Slam title, brushed aside 93rd-ranked Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.
‘If you look at it, it may seem like an easy win but that’s not the case,’ said Djokovic.
‘The conditions were different, the bounce was lower so you have to adapt but that’s part of the job.‘
Djokovic is bidding to be the first man in more than half a century to win all four majors on multiple occasions.
Next up for the Serb is 19-year-old Musetti after the 76th-ranked Italian fired 50 winners, past compatriot, Marco Cecchinato in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
He becomes just the sixth man since 2000 to make the fourth round of a Slam on debut.
‘I have practised with Novak so I know a little bit about his game. There will be more tension, but it’s what I have been working for since childhood, Now it’s reality’ ‘ said Musetti.
Fellow Italian teen Jannik Sinner, a quarter-finalist in 2020, also made it to the second week, easing past Sweden’s Mikael Ymer 6-1, 7-5, 6-3.
Nadal, seeded three this year and chasing a 14th French Open and record 21st Grand Slam, faces fellow left-hander Cameron Norrie.
The 25-year-old Norrie, ranked 40, is enjoying a breakout season on clay, reaching the finals in Estoril and Lyon.
He has played Nadal twice already this season, losing at the Australian Open and Barcelona on clay where the Spaniard won in straight sets for the loss of just five games.
‘I’ve learned that he’s actually a human being,‘ said Norrie.
Roger Federer, locked on 20 majors with Nadal, is aiming to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 68th time.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK