Novak Djokovic booked his place in the second week of Roland Garros after a comprehensive victory over the British number two Aljaz Bedene in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 and beat the fading light in Paris.
The players were originally scheduled to play the last match on court Philippe Chatrier, but the weather saw their match moved to Suzanne Lenglen. However, due to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s retirement in the first set against Ernest Gulbis the players were moved back to Philippe Chatrier before play got underway. Prior to this match, the two players had only met once before, which was also at a Grand Slam in the first round of the Australian Open last year. Djokovic was also victorious on that occasion 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Fast start from the Serb
The world number one came out firing, holding to love before earning a break point opportunity. The British number two did well to save it, finishing the point with an overhead smash winner, before saving a second break point as well. Djokovic was not to be denied on a third occasion as he forced Bedene to guide the backhand beyond the baseline to secure the break.
After getting a game on the board to settle the nerves Bedene tested the world number one in the fifth game. The Brit was unable to secure the break back on two chances, as Djokovic finally held on his sixth game point to win the game which lasted over eight minutes.
Both players had openings on their opponents serve in the next couple of games, Djokovic at 30-30 and Bedene at 15-30 on the world number ones serve, but neither could make the breakthrough as the Serb maintained his advantage at 5-2.
The world number one seized the moment, imposing himself on the Brit’s serve as he brought up two set points. Bedene saved the first with an ace but pulled his forehand into the tramlines on the second. First set to the Serb 6-2.
Djokovic continued to dominate in set number two
Bedene looked as though he may have caught the world number one cold at the start of the second set as he brought two break points. However, Djokovic calmly hit a forehand winner, overhead smash, and an ace as he hit his way out of the game to move in front 1-0.
After a couple of service holds, Bedene threw in his first real loose service games and a series of four successive unforced errors saw him drop serve for the third time in the match.
Frustration began to set in for the British number two as he dropped serve once again in the sixth game as he fell further behind down 5-1. There was a moment to savor for the Brit as he finally managed to break the Serb serves for the first time before clawing his way back to 5-3 behind. The Brit’s efforts were in vain as Djokovic made no mistake in serving out the set the second time.
More of the same in set three
Bedene had a problem with his eye at the start of the third set, inhibiting as the world number one grabbed an early break once again. This advantage was all that Djokovic needed to close out the set and the match in a nick of time as dusk fell. The Serb through to round four in straight sets, next up: Roberto Bautista Agut.