Djokovic, Serena reach French Open quarter-finals
The 29-year-old Serb started the tournament with USD 99,673,404 and the 294,000 euros (USD 328,303) he earned by beating Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut took him past the landmark figure.
Top seed Djokovic defeated 14th seeded Bautista Agut 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 to move into a 28th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final and 36th in all.
He will on Thursday take on Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who beat Spanish 11th seed David Ferrer 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. Djokovic has a 23-2 career stranglehold on Berdych who will be playing in his third Roland Garros quarter-final.
Djokovic, seeking a first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam, was 4-1 ahead of Bautista Agut in the third set Tuesday when play was halted due to rain after just two hours of action had been possible.
But the Serb quickly wrapped up the next two games Wednesday and despite falling a break down to trail 2-4 in the fourth, he stormed back to claim victory on a second match point.
“With my coaching team, we had some tough talks on Tuesday night,” said Djokovic, who had struggled in the heavy conditions when he had uncharacteristically dropped serve five times.
“But I came back on Wednesday with more intensity even though it was a tough mental and physical battle.”
Djokovic refused to back complaints made by top-10 players Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep who insisted that Tuesday’s court conditions had been too dangerous.
“The conditions were definitely on the edge throughout the entire day. We played more than two sets in the mist,” said the Serb.
“It was literally maybe five to ten minutes of the entire stay of over one-and-a-half hours we had on the court without rain.
“But again, once you accept the circumstances and the decision is such that you play, then you have to go with it.”
Bautista Agut criticised the decision to play Tuesday after Monday’s first complete washout in 16 years.
“The conditions were not good to play tennis and it was difficult to play with these heavy balls. On Wednesday I had a bit of pain on the elbow because of the balls,” he said.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem advanced to his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final with a 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-1, 6-4 win over Spain’s Marcel Granollers.
Rain halted play at one set apiece on Tuesday, but 13th seed Thiem quickly found his groove on Wednesday to race through the third set before nailing down a place in the last eight.
The 22-year-old will next meet Belgian 12th seed David Goffin who saw off Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in another match held over from Tuesday. Goffin is only the second Belgian man to reach the last eight in Paris.
Later Wednesday, second seed Andy Murray tackles Richard Gasquet, the last remaining home player, for a place in the semi-finals.
Murray, a three-time semi-finalist in Paris, and his opponent completed their last-16 ties on Sunday before torrential rain washed out all of Monday’s programme.
Defending champion Serena Williams fired out a warning shot to her French Open competitors, swatting aside Elina Svitolina in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 here on Wednesday.
The players had originally been due on court on Monday afternoon, only for the Paris weather to intervene.
When they did finally make it onto the Philippe Chatrier court, Serena was clearly intent on making up for lost time, reeling off the first four games in the blink of an eye against the hapless Ukrainian.
Svitolina did eventually get on the scoreboard but was unable to stem the tide for long, dropping the first set in under half an hour.
The second set was almost as brief, the American wrapped up victory to book a quarter-final meeting with Yulia Putintseva or Carla Suarez Navarro.