Following another rapid-fire victory in Paris, second seed Novak Djokovic is through to the third round at Roland Garros, where he will now face resurgent Croat Marin Cilic. The two have met on eight previous occasions on the professional circuit, with the head-to-head record standing at 8-0.
The world No. 2 picked up his ninth straight victory over France’s Jeremy Chardy, with his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win on Wednesday afternoon. He has never dropped a set against Chardy and did not face any trouble this time around in Paris.
“I managed to play some good tennis and [I am] already feeling like I’m improving my game as the tournament progresses,” said Djokovic. “I managed to make him play an extra shot. I managed to stay solid from the baseline and I think that forced him to make a lot of unforced errors, which definitely helped me to win in straight sets.”
Djokovic’s next opponent is towering Croat Marin Cilic, whom he holds an undefeated record against, but needed to rally against to earn the victory earlier this season at Indian Wells. Cilic reached the third round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Germany’s Tobias Kamke.
“I’m going to have to be playing even better against Marin next round,” said Djokovic. “Since he started working with [Goran] Ivanisevic he’s playing very, very, very good. He’s a big guy, and he can play really aggressive. If he feels the ball well, he can be dangerous.”
Djokovic holds a dominant 8-0 lead in the head-to-head series and will be looking to remain undefeated en route to the final 16 in Roland Garros. Cilic has only ever taken three sets off Djokovic in their eight meetings on the tour, yet the Croat has been in relatively strong form since the start of the season and has even managed to push their most recent meeting to three sets, and can trouble the Serb long enough to snatch a set once again in Paris.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Four Sets