Tennis-Djokovic dismantles Carballes Baena to reach French Open third round

By Thomson Reuters May 30, 2024 | 11:05 AM

By Shrivathsa Sridhar

PARIS (Reuters) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic was very briefly made to work hard by unseeded Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena before sealing a routine 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory and motoring into the French Open third round on Thursday.

Djokovic has been some way from his convincing best in an erratic season where he is bidding to win a record 25th Grand Slam title and the top-seeded Serbian was dragged into a battle by Carballes Baena after recovering an early break.

Having nosed ahead on serve in the ninth game, the 37-year-old Djokovic set up break point with a big overhead smash after a 24-shot rally and pounced to take the first set as spectators on Court Philippe Chatrier sensed a return to a more familiar level.

Djokovic moved up a few notches in the next set for a 4-0 lead before his 31-year-old opponent even got on the board and the three-times Roland Garros champion tightened his vice-like grip on the contest in double quick time.

The pair’s previous two encounters were both at hardcourt majors but the outcome was no different on Parisian clay as Djokovic sauntered ahead 5-1 in the third set and wrapped up the victory.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris; editing by Clare Fallon)