Just in time, Djokovic races into French Open fourth round
By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic won his race against the clock, performing in a "night show" as he beat Briton Aljaz Bedene 6-2 6-3 6-3 to reach the French Open last 16 on Saturday.
After rain cut two-and-a-half hours from the day at Roland Garros, the world number one did not even get on court until 7:25pm local time and had a small window of opportunity to ensure he got a day off on Sunday.
Hurrying the ball boys between points, Djokovic, aiming to win the only grand slam title missing from his collection, struck the ball with aggression throughout but Slovenian-born Bedene was in no mood to oblige and capitulate.
Djokovic even dropped serve in the third set but wrapped up the match on his first match point to set up a meeting with Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the 14th seed.
"I played very well, 6-2, 5-1, 30-Love, and a couple of long games where I didn't use my opportunities. But I closed out two sets pretty well. Started the third great," Djokovic, beaten in the final last year, told a news conference.
"Then the night show started, you know. I dropped my serve, the games were very long, (umpire) Pascal (Maria) was on fire.
"He was coming down from his chair. Yeah, and we went deep into night. I think we played to the maximum extent of time."
At the end of the match, Djokovic invited Frenchman Maria to come off his chair and do the post-match interview with him. Continued...