By Richard Lough
PARIS (Reuters) – Top seed Novak Djokovic barely broke sweat as he sauntered through the French Open third round with a 6-3 6-3 6-2 victory against Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso on Saturday.
Djokovic has never lost a Grand Slam match to a player ranked as low as Caruso, and never looked like doing so as he breezed to two match points, needing just one of those to put Caruso, the world number 147, out of his misery.
“I have been playing really well this year, and, you know, reaching a second week of a slam is a success,” Djokovic told a post-match news conference. But now the real deal starts. So it’s going to get only tougher from here.”
The Serbian is yet to drop a set in the tournament and has rarely had such an easy run into the fourth round at Roland Garros. He will face either Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff or 13th seed Borna Coric of Croatia next.
Djokovic is bidding to become the first man in the Open era to win each of the Grand Slams twice. His triumph in this year’s Australian Open took him to 15 major singles titles, third only behind Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (17).
“I am grateful to be part of the era with them, because I think they made me the player I am today,” Djokovic said.
“The success that I had, especially in the Grand Slams, was also due to the kind of a need to improve and to get better to win against these guys.
“It seems like it’s going to be hard for anyone to kind of do something the same that the three of us did or even better, but you never know what happens.”
(Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ken Ferris)