A straightforward 6-3 6-2 6-2 win over Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas on Sunday ensured Djokovic progressed to the last eight at the French Open for a record 17th time, surpassing the absent Rafael Nadal on 16.
The win also inched the Serb closer to a men’s record 23rd career grand slam. Djokovic is currently level with Nadal, who announced Saturday that he would be out of action for at least five months after undergoing hip surgery, on 22 grand slams.
Varillas is ranked 94th in the world but at Roland Garros became the first Peruvian in 29 years to reach the fourth round of a grand slam.
He was no match for world No.3 Djokovic, however, who will next play Russian Karen Khachanov, the 11th seed.
It has been a controversial week for the Serb who made headlines after sending a political message about Kosovo earlier in the tournament, something which he later said he stood by.
After his first round victory on Monday, Djokovic wrote “Kosovo is the [heart symbol] of Serbia. Stop the violence” on a TV camera lens in response to violent clashes in Kosovo. Tensions have been rising in the past week in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
“Of course, I’m aware that a lot of people would disagree, but it is what it is,” Djokovic said on Wednesday after his second-round victory against Hungary’s Márton Fucsovics. “It’s something that I stand for. So that’s all.”
“A drama-free grand slam, I don’t think it can happen for me,” he added on Wednesday. “You know, I guess that drives me as well.”