Novak Djokovic progresses to a record 17th French Open quarterfinal


On a sunny but windy Parisian afternoon, Novak Djokovic broke one of Rafael Nadal’s French Open records by advancing to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

A simple 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas on Sunday saw Djokovic advance to the last eight at Roland Garros for a record 17th time, overtaking the absentee Rafael Nadal on 16.

The victory also brought the Serb one step closer to a 23rd career Grand Slam, a men’s record. Djokovic is currently tied with Nadal, who announced on Saturday that he will be out of action for at least five months after undergoing hip surgery, out of 22 Grand Slams.

Varillas is ranked 94th in the world but at Roland Garros became the first Peruvian in 29 years to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

He was, however, no match for world No. 3 Djokovic, who will next face Russia’s Karen Khachanov, the 11th seed.

It has been a contentious week for the Serb who made headlines after sending a political message on Kosovo earlier in the tournament which he later said he supported.

After his first-round win on Monday, Djokovic wrote, “Kosovo is the [heart symbol] from Serbia. Stop the violence” on the lens of a television camera in response to violent clashes in Kosovo. Tensions rose last week in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

“Of course, I’m aware a lot of people would disagree, but that’s the way it is,” Djokovic said on Wednesday after his second-round victory over Hungary’s Márton Fucsovics. “It’s something I stand for. So that’s it.

“A Grand Slam without drama, I don’t think that can happen to me,” he added on Wednesday. “You know, I guess that motivates me too.”


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