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Novak Djokovic takes broom, sweeps French Open opponent

Novak Djokovic

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (R) helps a groundstaff member cleaning the court surface as rain falls during the men’s singles third round tennis match against Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan on Day 7 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on October 3, 2020. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is into the second week of a Grand Slam in his 13th straight major start, while Sofia Kenin extended a U.S. streak to nine years at the French Open.

Djokovic crushed 153rd-ranked Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to reach the fourth round.

Maybe the most interesting moment of the match came during a 15-minute rain-forced delay to close the roof, when Djokovic briefly took a broom and helped sweep the crushed red clay at Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic, the top seed whose only loss in 2020 came when he was defaulted for inadvertently hitting a U.S. Open linesperson with a ball he struck in anger, next gets 15th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov on Monday.

Djokovic hasn’t lost more than three games in any of his first nine sets at Roland Garros, where he eyes a second French Open title and an 18th Grand Slam title to move within one of Rafael Nadal and within two of the absent Roger Federer on the career list. His 15 total games lost in the first three rounds ties Nadal’s record for players since 2000, according to Gracenote.

Djokovic will not play second-seeded Nadal, the 12-time French Open champion, until a possible final a week from Sunday.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier Saturday, No. 4 seed Sofia Kenin ensured a U.S. woman made the second week of the French Open for a ninth straight year, sweeping Romanian qualifier Irina Bara 6-2, 6-0.

Kenin, the Australian Open champion, won the last 12 games of the match after dropping the first two.

She gets another unseeded player, Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, in the fourth round on Monday.

“I feel like I should get deep in a tournament,” said Kenin, the highest seed remaining in her half of the draw. “I’m a bit hard on myself. It’s a little bit different mindset now coming into the slams [after winning the Australian Open].”

Tennis’ stoppage in March due to the coronavirus pandemic was particularly tough for Kenin. She had just broken through in Melbourne, plus won a tournament in the last week before the sport was shut down.

“I was quite devastated what happened, of course what’s going on around the world. But speaking about myself, it was obviously devastating,” she said. “Obviously I was looking forward to the American swing and all the American tournaments. I felt like I was playing some of my best tennis, and just all of it shut down.”

Kenin was later joined in the last 16 by countrywoman Danielle Collins, who upset 11th seed Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 26 minutes and was played on two different courts due to rain. Collins, 26, is into the second week of a major for the second time, following up her surprise 2019 Australian Open semifinal run.

Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, was the favorite in the bottom half of the draw. Instead, Collins gets 30th seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.

A U.S. woman has reached the round of 16 at the last 24 majors, dating to 2014. The last time that didn’t happen at Roland Garros was 2011, a tournament that didn’t include Venus or Serena Williams.

Kenin, who knocked out Serena Williams in the third round in Paris last year, has reached at least the round of 16 in all three majors this year.

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