NEW YORK: Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of Richard Gasquet on Saturday beating the Frenchman in straight sets to move smoothly into the US Open last 16.
Sixth-seeded Djokovic, seeking to add to the US Open titles he won in 2011 and 2015, triumphed 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 before a rowdy night crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was his 13th victory over Gasquet in 14 career meetings.
Djokovic, irked by a lapse of concentration that cost him a set against Tennys Sandgren in the previous round, sailed through the first two sets against Gasquet.
Up a break at 3-2 in the third, he found himself fighting off two break points — letting loose a roar and exhorting the crowd after coming out on top in a rally that had the stands rocking.
“It was a great match from the beginning to the end,” Djokovic said.
“Obviously in the third set, Richard raised his level. The crowd was amazing toward the end of the match, it was a real night session match here at the US Open.
He booked a fourth-round meeting with unseeded Joao Sousa of Portugal, who upset 17th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5).
“He’s a fighter, he’s a grinder,” Djokovic said of Sousa. “He will not hand you the victory, you’ve got to earn it.”
Djokovic, who battled injury and self-doubt before ending his Grand Slam drought with a 13th major title at Wimbledon, stayed on course for a quarter-final showdown with 20-time Grand Slam champ Roger Federer.