Untroubled Djokovic cruises into French Open third round

Top seed Novak Djokovic soared into the third round of the French Open with a straight sets win over Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen. Last year's runner up Dominic Thiem and fifth seed Alexander Zverev also advanced.

World number one Novak Djokovic reacts during his second round win over Henri Laaksonen at the French Open on Thursday.   -  AP

Top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic cruised into the French Open third round on Thursday and admitted it had been an emotional day playing for the first time in front of his four-year-old son.

Djokovic, bidding to become just the second man to hold all four Slams at the same time twice, cruised to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win over Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen.

Watching from the player's box on Court Suzanne Lenglen was Djokovic's son Stefan. “It's a very special day for me as it's the first time in my life that I have played in front of my son,” said the 32-year-old Serb.

“He showed incredible patience to sit there for an hour and a half.

“Usually, he's not that patient with tennis.”

Last July, Stefan joined in with the celebrations on Centre Court as Djokovic claimed a fourth Wimbledon title. However, he was not allowed to watch the final against Kevin Anderson as the All England Club bans all children under the age of five from attending during a match.

Djokovic goes on to face Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, ranked 147, for a place in the last 16 in Paris. His win over world number 104 Laaksonen was his 23rd straight at the Slams as he reached the third round in Paris for the 14th consecutive year.

- Thiem edges into French Open third round -

Last year's runner-up Dominic Thiem overcame an entertaining challenge from Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik to reach the third round at Roland Garros for the fourth straight year on Thursday.

The Austrian fourth seed was facing a fifth set when trailing 5-2 in the fourth, but reeled off five straight games to win 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 7-5.

Dominic Thiem celebrates after beating Alexander Bublik in the second round of the French Open on Thursday.   -  AP

 

World number 91 Bublik delighted the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd with his wide range of shots, including an underarm serve in the opening set, but ran out of steam at the wrong time. The 25-year-old Thiem is bidding for a maiden Grand Slam title and has reached at least the semifinals in Paris for three consecutive years.

Talking about the underarm serve, Thiem said: “I expected it. To be honest, it's a good choice against players like us who are that far behind the baseline.”

“There is nothing bad about it. And, I mean, I was prepared for that, so that was no problem. There's nothing wrong about it. It's sometimes quite a good tactic,” he added.

Thiem will face Pablo Cuevas in the last 32, after British number one Kyle Edmund retired injured from their second-round match while trailing the Uruguayan 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 2-1.

- Fifth seed Zverev books third-round place -

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev moved into the third round with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) win over Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer.

The 22-year-old German has struggled to make an impact at the Grand Slam tournaments despite winning three Masters titles and last year's ATP Finals. His best major effort came in Paris when he lost in the quarter-finals 12 months ago.

Zverev needed five sets to get past dogged Australian John Millman in the first round, but had no such troubles against world number 148 Ymer as he booked a last-32 clash with either Serbian 30th seed Dusan Lajovic or French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit.