Novak Djokovic enjoyed his first routine victory at this year’s U.S. Open at the third attempt on Saturday as the two-time champion eased into the fourth round with a 6-2 6-3 6-3 win over flamboyant Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
The sixth-seeded Serb needed four sets to despatch his first two opponents, struggling especially in the opening round against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in searing daytime temperatures at the start of the week.
However, the Wimbledon champion started brightly under the floodlights at Arthur Ashe Stadium against the 26th seed and never looked back, sealing a comfortable triumph in two hours and 11 minutes.
He won 75 percent of his first serves, struck 32 winners and saved each of the five break points he faced as the 32-year-old Gasquet’s game collapsed under the weight of his 47 unforced errors.
The win marked the 13th time Djokovic had beaten Gasquet in 14 meetings, with the Serb winning his last 11 matches against the Frenchman.
“It was a great match from the beginning to the end… It was a real night session match at the U.S. Open,” Djokovic said in a courtside interview.
Victory keeps the 13-times Grand Slam champion on track for a potential quarter-final showdown against second seed Roger Federer, who saw off Nick Kyrgios in straight sets earlier in the day.
Next up for the Serb, however, is a last-16 clash with unseeded Portuguese Joao Sousa.
“He’s a fighter, he’s a grinder,” Djokovic said. “He will not hand you the victory, you’ve got to earn it… I’m really glad I didn’t spend too much time on the court tonight. I’m going to get some rest and move on to the next one.”
Day 6, Saturday, Sept. 1
Men’s Singles results
No. 2 Roger Federer def. No. 30 Nick Kyrgios, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. No. 4 Alexander Zverev, 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3
No. 6 Novak Djokovic def. No. 26 Richard Gasquet, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3
No. 7 Marin Cilic vs. Alex de Minaur (L)
No. 10 David Goffin def. Jan-Lennard Struff, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(4)
No. 21 Kei Nishikori def. No. 13 Diego Schwartzman, 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-1
Joao Sousa def. No. 17 Lucas Pouille, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5)
John Millman def. Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
Day 7, Sunday, Sept. 2
Men’s Singles schedule
No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. NIkoloz Basilashvili
No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro vs. No. 20 Borna Coric
No. 5 Kevin Anderson vs. No. 9 Dominic Thiem
No. 11 John Isner vs. No. 25 Milos Raonic