PARIS — Novak Djokovic felt "more nervous than usual" as he faced his first serious test at the French Open on Saturday, but he continued his amazing unbeaten run by knocking out Juan Martin Del Potro to reach the fourth round.
World No. 2 Djokovic, who has a 40-0 record this year, including his title at the Australian Open, triumphed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 against the 2009 U.S. Open champion in a match played over two days.
The match was interrupted due to darkness on Friday just as Del Potro had evened it at 6-3, 3-6, but the stoppage robbed the Argentine of his momentum and gave Djokovic, looking for his first Roland Garros title, time to regroup.
"I went into the match a bit more nervous than usual," said Djokovic, who is bidding to break John McEnroe's record of 42 straight wins since the start of a year.
He was only facing such a quality player at this stage because Del Potro has tumbled down the rankings after injury problems.
"We both made a lot of unforced errors at the start and then had some great, great periods of the match when we both played well," Djokovic said.
"I was aware if I lost the serve it was going to be very difficult to get it back."
When they resumed Saturday, Del Potro set up two break points in the fifth game of the third set but could not convert, and in the following game, Djokovic broke to love as he put Del Potro on the ropes.
Djokovic, who is also on a 42-match winning streak since last December, ended the contest with an exquisite drop shot to set up a meeting with local favorite and 13th seed Richard Gasquet for a place in the quarterfinals.
Del Potro wasn't thrilled about losing his impetus from Friday.
"It's my second time suspending matches to the next day," he said. "Today he did much better than me and made the match very difficult." Reuters