Novak Djokovic has reached the fourth round of the French Open for a record 12th consecutive year.
The No. 1-seeded Djokovic has not been pushed yet in any match — or any set, really — in Week 1 at Roland Garros. His latest victory was by a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 score against 93rd-ranked Ricardas Berankis on Saturday.
Djokovic’s streak of appearances in the round of 16 in Paris is now one longer than the previous professional era mark for men of 11. That was shared by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who both got that far every year from 2005 to ’15.
Nadal advanced to the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 50th time by beating Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal won easily despite losing serve twice in a row in the second set.
Nadal is trying to add to his record 13 French Open championships and seeks his 21st major title, which would break the men’s record he shares with Federer.
As Nadal spoke to the crowd after the match, fans reminded the Spaniard of his title total by shouting “treize!” — 13 in French.
“Can you repeat that?” he responded in English with a smile.
Nadal will next play 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, who is seeded 18th.
“He’s young, he’s improving every week, he has big shots,” Nadal said. “I need to be solid. I need to be aggressive too. I need to make him play from tough positions. It’s the fourth round — you can’t expect an easy opponent.”
Federer and Djokovic are the only other men to have reached the fourth round at 50 major events.
Federer raised his total to a record 68 trips to the round of 16 at majors by getting past Dominik Koepfer 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 in a match that ended at nearly 1 a.m. Federer said after the grueling match he will see how his right knee feels in Saturday morning before deciding whether he can continue playing in the tournament.
“I mean, every match here or Geneva, I have to reassess the situation after the match and see in the morning how I wake up and how does the knee, you know, feel the next morning,” he said. “So from that standpoint for me it always goes like that. There is no difference after a match like this, but maybe even more so after a match like this that has been long. Like I explained before, I have not been two-, three-and-a-half-hour battles in practice either.”
Federer was sidelined for more than a year by two knee surgeries before returning to play in the Qatar Open in March.
Koepfer received a point penalty in the fourth set of Saturday’s match for spitting on the court, a ruling he wasn’t thrilled with at the time.
“No, it’s fine. If you get a point penalty, you get a point penalty. Told me I can’t spit. I don’t know. COVID rule,” he said. “I mean, on clay I, like, spit and wipe it up with the shoes. I don’t know what the issue is. It is what it is.”
Djokovic is seeking a second French Open championship and 19th Grand Slam title overall.
Against Berankis, Djokovic never faced a break point and compiled 30 winners to just 18 unforced errors.
“Maybe for those watching it looked simple, but it wasn’t,” he told the crowd in French. “The conditions were different. How do you say in French … the bounce was lower. I think I coped well.”
Djokovic has dropped a total of 23 games across three matches so far.
Djokovic next faces 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti, who rallied to win an all-Italian matchup against Marco Cecchinato 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Musetti is playing in his first Grand Slam tournament.
“He is a big challenge to me,” Djokovic said. “He will not have much to lose. I’m sure he’s going to come trying to play the tennis of his life.”
Jan-Lennard Struff, a 31-year-old German, matched his best Grand Slam effort by advancing to the fourth round when he beat 18-year-old qualifier Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-2. No. 10 Diego Schwartzman eliminated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine was used in this report