'Like a snake': Novak Djokovic stuns French Open with 'brutal' act

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here after powering into the second round of the French Open.
Novak Djokovic powered into the second round of the French Open in brutal fashion. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic showed no mental demons from his US Open disqualification as he cruised into the second round of the French Open on Tuesday in “brutal” fashion.

Djokovic was described as a “snake killing its prey” by vanquished Roland Garros opponent Mikael Ymer, as the World No.1's bid to become the first man in half a century to win all four grand slam titles twice got off to a convincing start.

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Djokovic eased to a 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 victory, reaching the second round in Paris for a record-equalling 16th time.

It was also his 32nd win in 33 matches in 2020, his only loss coming when he was defaulted from the US Open.

“It felt like when a snake kills its prey,” was the blunt verdict of 23-year-old Ymer, who never recovered from dropping the first set in just 20 minutes under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.

“He hits it pretty big. I had chances to rally but then I got suffocated. It was corner to corner and he rarely misses.

“At the beginning, it was just surreal. The court felt big and I was nervous because I was facing the best on the other side.”

Djokovic won the first set in just 20 minutes, only losing seven points.

Tennis journalist George Bellshaw described the bagel as “about as brutal as it gets”.

Djokovic in ugly exchange with Federer fan

Djokovic did drop serve early in the second set when an attempted drop shot fell short, but there was no angry response this time, just an ironic chuckle.

The 33-year-old then led the applause for Ymer when he played a sensational between-the-legs winner Nick Kyrgios would have been proud of in the sixth game.

But it was one-way traffic as Djokovic polished off the second set with his trademark clean hitting.

The 80th-ranked Ymer, facing a World No.1 for the first time, stuck manfully to his task in the third set and Djokovic became a little sloppy as he handed back a service break with a double-fault after which he flexed his hand.

Top seed Djokovic, bidding for a second French Open title, glared at someone in the crowd in the following game and re-focused to reel off the last three games for victory.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after beating Mikael Ymer at the French Open.
Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Mikael Ymer at the French Open. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

The 17-time major winner shrugged off the incident which was hard to ignore at a tournament where only 1000 fans are allowed on site each day due to coronavirus restrictions.

“No, that's my childhood friend. I sent him a kiss after I won the game. It was very nice to see him,” he said.

Meanwhile, Djokovic insisted his New York disqualification, handed out when he swiped a ball which felled a line judge, was definitely a thing of the past.

In the immediate aftermath of his US Open retreat, he went to Rome where he captured a record 36th Masters title.

“I have not had any traces of New York in my mind. I'm over it,” he said.

with agencies

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