25
May
11

Novak Djokovic extended his superb winning streak to 41 matches on Wednesday to set up a French Open blockbuster with Juan Martin Del Potro.

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The Serb, yet to lose in 2011, had way too much for Romanian Victor Hanescu, who was forced to retire hurt when 6-4 6-1 2-3 down. The victory meant Djokovic moved into joint fourth place in the list of longest winning streaks in the Open era, closing in on Guillermo Vilas’ all-time record of 46 consecutive wins. However, his hopes of moving further up that particular list look likely to be severely tested by Del Potro on Friday. The former US Open champion is now fully fit again after a wrist injury ruined his 2010 campaign and the 2009 semi-finalist looked in fine fettle as he beat Slovenian Blaz Kavcic in straight sets.

Djokovic entertained the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier with some fantastic tennis in an opening set that saw his Romanian foe stand toe-to-toe with him and look comfortable in the process. Both men played an array of shots but there was clear intent from Hanescu to take the game to the world number two. Djokovic showed no signs of sitting back though and reacted superbly, stepping up a gear and serving three consecutive games to love. Despite proving a worthy adversary for the most part, Hanescu eventually succumbed to the Serbian in the 10th game after conceding three break points. It was the first time either man had a chance to break serve and Djokovic snapped up the chance to go ahead in the tie. Djokovic showed the gulf in class between the two men as the tie went into the second set. Hanescu continued to play well but was no match for Djokovic, who improved with each passing point. The Serbian looked strong on both forehand and backhand and stormed to a 6-1 set win over his Romanian opponent, who called for the trainer immediately after. After some brief treatment on his thigh, play recommenced and Hanescu returned to hold serve in the opening game of the third set. Serve continued to dominate until, with Djokovic trailing 2-3, Hanescu decided he could no longer continue and threw in the towel.

 

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