MADRID – Novak Djokovic defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-1 7-6 (7/2) on Thursday at the Madrid Open to extend his domination of French opponents.
The Serb top seed needed less than 90 minutes to reach the quarter-finals at the Caja Magica, beating Chardy for the 13th time in as many attempts.
Djokovic holds an overwhelming record against the French, standing 66-2 against them since leading Serbia to the 2010 Davis Cup title over France.
Djokovic, the Madrid champion in 2011 and 2016, is searching for his top clay form as he begins the chase a fourth straight Grand Slam title when Roland Garros starts in little over two weeks.
He secured the opening set in less than half an hour, but was forced to a tiebreaker as Chardy’s resistance stiffened in the second.
He will face ninth seed Marin Cilic next after the Croatian put out Laslo Djere 4-6 6-3 6-2, winning 11 of the last 13 games.
Two-time women’s champion Simona Halep overcame Ashleigh Barty 7-5 7-5 to reach her fourth Madrid semi-final.
Romania’s third seed and former world number one will next play the winner from top seed Naomi Osaka and in-form Swiss Belinda Bencic.
Halep, who has been struggling with injury, took the opening set and went up a break in the second before losing it against the ninth-seeded Australian who won the Miami title in March.
Halep regained control with a break of serve for 6-5 as her opponent returned wide. She wrapped up victory with an untouchable forehand to the corner.
“For me, it’s a huge victory, it’s a huge match I played today,” Halep said.
“It means a lot that to win. It was on clay so I liked my chances, but still, it was very difficult and every point was important.
“I’m very motivated after reaching the semi-finals again. I will have another challenge tomorrow (Friday), so I’m not looking any further ahead than that.
“If I can play my best tennis, then we will see,” added the player, who advanced through her third-round match on Wednesday without the loss of a game.AFP