Resurgent former champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open quarter-finals for the 12th time on Sunday as he subdued feisty Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-4 6-2.
The Serb, seeded 20 after a well-documented slump, was given a ferocious fight in the early stages with the opening three games lasting 29 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.
But what looked like being a long evening for the 12-times Grand Slam champion ended up being a reasonably comfortable one as he generally called the shots.
One break of serve was enough to take the opening set and although left-hander Verdasco produced some thunderous winners to stay in touch in the second his challenge faded.
Djokovic, who completed his career Grand Slam by winning in Paris in 2016, sped away with the third set and can now look forward to a clash with either Marco Cecchinato who caused an upset by defeating David Goffin by 3-1 (7-5,4-6.6-0,6-3).
Men’s singles – 4th round
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) beat 8-David Goffin (BEL) 7-5 4-6 6-0 6-3
20-Novak Djokovic (SRB) beat 30-Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-3 6-4 6-2
7-Dominic Thiem (AUT) beat 19-Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-2 6-0 5-7 6-4
2-Alexander Zverev (GER) beat Karen Khachanov (RUS) 4-6 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 6-2