Novak Djokovic imperious in disposing of Jeremy Chardy

David Ferrer made to work much harder for his win over Alexandr Dolgopolov

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Jeremy Chardy of France in their singles match at Wimbledon. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Jeremy Chardy of France in their singles match at Wimbledon. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 21:09

World number one Novak Djokovic laid down a marker for his Wimbledon rivals tonight as he took apart France’s Jeremy Chardy.

The 26-year-old’s assault on a seventh grand slam title never looked like it would be thrown off course by the 22nd seed, who had failed to take a set off the Serbian in their six previous meetings.

Chardy’s fruitless run extended this evening as top seed Djokovic romped to a 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory in one hour and 26 minutes. It was Djokovic’s 50th tour-level win on grass and saw him through to the Wimbledon last 16 for the fifth consecutive year, with 13th seed Tommy Haas now standing in his way of a quarter-final berth.

The top seed raced out of the blocks and wore down Chardy’s early exuberance with some exquisite play.

Big-hitting Frenchman Chardy saw his resistance broken after 28 minutes, when an exquisite cross-court backhand allowed Djokovic to break serve. It put the reigning Australian Open champion on course to take the first set and it got no easier for Chardy.

The Frenchman, bidding to reach the Wimbledon last 16 for the first time, dropped his first service game and was broken again as Djokovic ran through the second set.

The Serbian only conceded two points on serve during those opening sets and it took until midway through the third for him to make an unforced error. Djokovic had lifted his foot off the gas but continued in the ascendancy, dismantling his opponent with some sensational returns and quickly wrapping up the one-sided contest.

Djokovic said: “It is never easy, of course. Chardy is a quality player. He won junior Wimbledon.

“He knows how to play on grass but I neutralised his serve and got a very crucial break in the first set. After that, I felt much more confident about stepping into the court and everything went my way, really.

“I didn’t lose many points on my service games. I did everything I wanted to do. I enjoy it very much when everything works well. It is a fantastic feeling.”

Djokovic looked unbeatable at stages this evening, although he believes Monday’s fourth-round match against Haas will be much more even.

“He is playing maybe the best tennis ever,” he said. “He is feeling so great, he is so fit. We played in the quarter-finals of the French Open, a tough three-set match. I don’t see any clear favourite, to be honest.

“He loves playing on grass and hopefully we can play on Centre Court and put up a great, entertaining match for the crowd.”

David Ferrer had his work cut out with a crowd-pleasing performance from Alexandr Dolgopolov but the Spaniard whose seeding caused such a pre-tournament fuss tonight continued his Wimbledon run.

Ukrainian Dolgopolov won the hearts of the Court One crowd yet Ferrer took the contest after five sets, edging it 6-7 (6/8) 7-6 (7/2) 2-6 6-1 6-2 to earn a shot at unseeded Croatian Ivan Dodig on Monday.

That will be for the prize of a quarter-final place, and Ferrer is steadily going about proving he is a justified fourth seed, having been controversially positioned there by an automated system that takes no account of grass-court results further back than two years.

Many thought two-time champion Rafael Nadal ought to have been placed above Ferrer, but a look at which of the two star Spaniards is left standing in London tells its own story.

Dolgopolov, who plays an unorthodox, highly inventive game, was going for ambitious shots and making many of them, however he could not sustain the form that took him into a two-sets-to-one lead over the entire match and Ferrer’s quality shone through in the end.