The men's favorite set the tone right out of the gate and never let his foot off the gas pedal en route to a shockingly easy victory over the No. 13 seed that took only an hour and a half to complete.
|1st Serve %||Break Pts||Winners||Unforced Errors|
|(13) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga||56||1/2||16||38|
|(2) Novak Djokovic||67||7/9||18||18|
Tsonga warned reporters ahead of Sunday's clash that he would need to execute at a high level in order to advance, per ATPWorldTour.com:
With Novak, you have to fear him in many regards, but I will have to pay attention to myself. I will have to be focused from the first point to the last point. I shouldn't give him some free points. Of course, I have to produce a great match in order to defeat him.
Tsonga's game plan proved much easier said than done.
Djokovic took advantage of a flat Tsonga in the match's early stages, jumping on the Frenchman 5-0 just 20 minutes into the opening set.
Tennis analyst Brad Gilbert noted Djokovic's ability to earn points down the line with the backhand:
The way Djoker is playing I feel Jo-Willy would do really we'll if he won a set, just to solid point in and point out, bachand DTL amazing— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) June 1, 2014
The Serb's furious start was aided by Tsonga's sloppy play. He racked up 13 unforced errors in the first set alone. Tsonga eventually got on the board late in the frame, but the damage was done as Djokovic served out the set at 6-1 to seize control he wouldn't relinquish.
Determined to reach his eighth career French Open quarterfinal berth, Djokovic didn't let up in the second set, breaking Tsonga for a third time in the match en route to taking a quick 3-1 lead. Everything was working for the world No. 2 at that point, especially his rock-solid two-handed backhand.
Oozing with confidence, per Twitter's Tara Dowdell, Djokovic broke Tsonga for a second time in the set for a 5-2 lead:
Djokovic dominating this match- looks relaxed, confident & playing very efficiently, hopefully this is the year he wins his 1st #FrenchOpen— Tara Dowdell (@MsTaraDowdell) June 1, 2014
Tsonga showed a glimpse of life in the following game, breaking Djokovic and consolidating on serve to narrow the gap to 5-4. But Djokovic responded, setting up triple break point in his next service game, closing out the second set at love.
With his will clearly broken at the end of the second set, Tsonga provided little resistance down the stretch as a relentless Djokovic took aim at the finish line. He broke Tsonga twice within the first three games of the final set, taking a 4-0 advantage before the Frenchman finally got on the board with a service hold.
Fittingly, Djokovic finished the match with yet another break of serve.
Which remaining men's contender is the man to beat in the singles draw?
After making short work of Tsonga, Djokovic will have a day off to recover for his quarterfinal showdown with eighth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic.
Djokovic will be a heavy favorite to defeat Raonic and advance to the semifinals. The Serb won both of their previous two meetings, both of which came on clay. Not to mention the six-time Grand Slam champion is untouchable at the moment, having won the Rome Masters coming into Roland Garros.
Raonic's monster serve is his biggest asset, but expect that to be somewhat neutralized on the slower-playing Paris clay. While the 23-year-old underdog proved in the semifinals in Rome last month he can trouble Djokovic, taking three sets off the world No. 2 will be an almost impossible task given his current form.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.