Novak Djokovic seems in a hurry as he chases his ninth Grand Slam title — and the only one he’s never won — racing into the French Open fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win against 19-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Ranked 84th, Kokkinakis never stood a chance against the top-ranked Serb. He dropped his serve three times and could not force a single break point in a match lasting 1 hour, 49 minutes.
Next up for Djokovic is either 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa, or No. 20 Richard Gasquet of France, who played later on Saturday.
Earlier, two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray extended his impressive winning streak on clay, reaching the fourth round after beating big-hitting Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
The third-seeded Briton, who lost in the semifinals last year against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, was hardly troubled on court Suzanne Lenglen.
After Kyrgios saved a first match point with a stunning forehand at the net, Murray took his next chance by returning a serve with a powerful two-handed backhand from the back of the court that zipped past the Australian.
He beat the 29th-seeded Kyrgios for the second straight Grand Slam, having knocked him out of the Australian at the quarterfinal stage earlier this year, and has not dropped a set against him in three meetings.
Next up for Murray, who hasn’t lost a match on clay this season with titles in Munich and Madrid, is Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who beat 17th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
“This is the best I have played on clay. The results would obviously suggest that. Never won a clay court tournament, never been to the final and had many wins against any of the top guys for a while on clay,” Murray said. “Obviously in Madrid, I managed to do that against Kei (Nishikori), Milos (Raonic), and against Rafa.”
U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic also advanced to the fourth round in style with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win against No. 23 Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, while in the women’s draw fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and former finalist Sara Errani of Italy both advanced. But 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone went out.
Later, Nadal was playing against 120th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov, while top-ranked Serena Williams was facing two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.
Under bright sunshine, Kyrgios entertained the crowd more than he threatened Murray.
After retrieving a good lob with a superb shot through his legs, he then raised his arms in triumph to milk the point..
Under the watchful eye of coach Amelie Mauresmo — a two-time Grand Slam winner — Murray broke in the seventh game to lead 4-3, and overcame a brief wobble in the next game.
Trailing 15-40, he saved two break points, the second with a flicked backhand lob from the back of the court that drew enthusiastic applause.
Kyrgios, when 5-2 down in the second set and after dropping his serve for the second time, called for some medical assistance. Briefly, he wore some white strapping on his wrist and elbow.
“I wasn’t near 100 percent. Not to take anything from him. He played unbelievable,” Kyrgios said. “I will do everything I can to get ready for Wimbledon. I think that’s my best chance to win a Grand Slam.”
Kyrgios held at the start of the third set after saving three break points and then broke Murray’s serve with a whipped forehand from the back of the court that whizzed past Murray before he could get across to it.
But, after Murray broke straight back, Kyrgios whacked a ball angrily out of the court.
The other teenager in the third round, 18-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia, was facing American Jack Sock.
Meanwhile, Kvitova — the reigning Wimbledon champion and a French Open semifinalist three years ago — won 6-3, 6-2 against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, seeded 30th. Errani, seeded 17th, beat No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-3, 6-3 and Schiavone lost 7-5, 6-4 to Andreea Mitu of Romania.
Madison Keys, a 16th-seeded American, lost 6-4, 6-2 to 23rd-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky.
Tennis-Nadal crushes Kuznetsov to reach last 16 in style
Rafa Nadal’s attempt to win the French Open for a 10th time picked up pace with a 6-1 6-3 6-2 third round demolition of unseeded Russian Andrey Kuznetsov at Roland Garros on Saturday.
The Spanish defending champion, seeded a lowly sixth this year after a run of patchy form, showed the quality that has made him the dominant force on clay for a decade, brushing aside his opponent with relative ease.
He moves into the second week with an unblemished record and seems to be finding his best form in time for a likely quarter-final blockbuster with world number one Novak Djokovic — the man he has beaten in two of the last three finals.
Before that can become a reality he will have to beat American Jack Sock in the last 16.
“Things are going better,” Nadal said on court. “Against (Nicolas) Almagro (in the last round) I played a good match and again today I played well and had positive feelings.
“Fourth round is very good news for me.”
Apart from a dropped service game the first set was perfect for Nadal as he overpowered the lightweight Russian.
Kuznetsov did not hold serve until he was 3-0 down in the second set and although he began to make more of a match of it he was outclassed as Nadal improved his record at Roland Garros to 69-1.