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Tennis: Majestic Djokovic sweeps into fourth round

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Novak Djokovic took the express route into the Wimbledon fourth round as the world number one thrashed French 28th seed Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.

Djokovic, who plays German 13th seed Tommy Haas for a place in the quarter-finals, has now won 50 times on grass, but few of the preceeding 49 victories can have been as emphatic as this.

"I felt very confident stepping onto the court but it's never easy against Chardy, he's a quality player," said Djokovic.

The Serb played a flawless first two sets without a single unforced error, and eventually hit 38 winners and served eight aces in one hour and 26 minutes of total dominance on Centre Court.

While several of Djokovic's title rivals have fallen foul of the shock defeats and injury withdrawals that have rocked Wimbledon, the 26-year-old has progressed serenely into the last 16 without dropping a set.

Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal suffered stunning losses at the hands of unheralded opponents in the other half of the draw, leaving Djokovic as the only former Wimbledon champion left in the men's tournament and he remains firmly on course for a second appearance in the All England Club final.

Djokovic had made a first French Open title his top priority this year but, following a painful semi-final defeat against Nadal in Paris, a second Wimbledon crown to follow his triumph in 2011 would be a more than acceptable consolation prize.

The Serb hadn't even surrendered a set in his six previous meetings with Chardy, including a first round clash en route to his Wimbledon title, and this was yet another one-sided contest.

Djokovic has been spending some of his free time during the tournament visiting a Buddhist Temple near his rented house in Wimbledon Village.

But the spiritual home of tennis remains his focus and, back on the hallowed Centre Court, Djokovic was quickly into his stride.

The four-time Australian Open champion clinched the first set in breath-taking fashion, with a sublime backhand cross-court winner on the run from an an almost impossible angle.

Djokovic was cheered on from the players' box by former AC Milan and Ukraine footballer Andriy Shevchenko for the second successive match.

And the Serb showed the same ruthless instincts that made Shevchenko such a deadly striker as he went for the kill, breaking Chardy twice to take a 4-1 lead in the second set.

Chardy had never been past the third round at Wimbledon and his hopes of joining the week's lengthy list of giant-killers were fading by the minute as Djokovic easily closed out the set.

With victory in sight, Djokovic surged to the finish line, breaking Chardy twice more in the third set to complete the rout.

smg/dj

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130629/tennis-majestic-djokovic-sweeps-fourth-round-0