Can anyone stop the $100m man?
Djokovic makes history and seals last-eight spot
N ovak Djokovic finally overcame Roberto Bautista-Agut and the Parisian weather to become the first player in the history of the game to earn $100 million in prize money.
Of course the staggering sum, achieved by reaching the last eight at Roland Garros, will mean little to the Serbian should be fail in his attempt to win the one Grand Slam that has avoided his grasp.
Djokovic has been the dominant force in men’s tennis for the last few years, racking up title wins and overtaking Roger Federer at the top of the money-earning list.
But the French Open crown is what Djokovic really desires. On three occasions he has lost in the final, twice to Rafa Nadal and once to Stan Wawarinka, his dreams of a career Grand Slam being crushed at the final hurdle. Now, after securing a 3-6 6-4 6-1 7-5 win against Bautista-Agut, Djokovic faces another major challenge when he plays seventh seed Thomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. The Czech ace has advanced beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros for only the third time in 13 attempt, but remains a dangerous player. He brushed aside 2013 runner-up David Ferrer 6-3 7-5 6-3 and possesses the weapons to hurt Djokovic. But the world No. 1 said after his victory that he felt he had an “extra gear” and will certainly take some stopping in his quest to win all four major titles.
Should Djokovic come through his quarter-final then he could face rising star Dominic Thiem (pictured left).
The 22-year-old reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final by beating Marcel Granollers 6-2 6-7 6-1 6-4 and will now play David Goffin.
The Austrian’s previous best at a major was making the fourth round at the US Open in 2014.
In the women’s draw, unseeded Yulia Putintseva reached the last eight at a major tournament for the first time, beating Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5 7-5.
Kiki Bertens also reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating American Madison Keys 7-6 6-3.
Putintseva will now play world No. 1 Serena Williams after her 6-1 6-1 thrashing of Elina Svitolina, while Bertens faces Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky who beat seven-time major winner Venus Williams 6-2 6-4.