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Djokovic breezes to semis

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic enjoys his 41st consecutive victory. (Associated Press)
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic enjoys his 41st consecutive victory. (Associated Press)

Runs winning streak to 41 straight matches

PARIS – Novak Djokovic drained the fight from Richard Gasquet at the French Open, with the Serb’s unbeaten streak this season preserved with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory Sunday into the quarterfinals.

Frenchman Gasquet had a chance to end the unbeaten run of the world’s No. 2 player in front of a sympathetic home crowd on the grandest venue on clay, the Chatrier court at Roland Garros.

Instead, it was business as usual for Djokovic, his winning run now at 41-0 since the start of the year. One more against Italian Fabio Fognini will tie him with John McEnroe (1984) for the longest winning streak from the start of a season.

“I’m very content with my game,” Djokovic said. “Richard is a great player. But I made two important breaks and then played with no mistakes. I’m definitely playing the best tennis of my life.”

Djokovic won in 1 hour, 47 minutes with 34 winners, leaving Gasquet to pick up the scraps.

The 2009 champion Roger Federer mowed down fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, as he continues to fly under the radar.

With attention focused on the form dip of five-time winner Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer is taking an unaccustomed place out of the spotlight.

He improved to 9-1 over Wawrinka, his 2008 Olympic gold medal doubles partner.

Federer fired 32 winners and broke five times.

The victory puts Federer into his 28th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal against either Spanish seventh-seed David Ferrer or Gael Monfils of France.

Ninth-seeded Monfils and Ferrer were halted by darkness with the Frenchman leading 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 0-2.

Unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini played the lead role in a comic opera as he beat Albert Montanes, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 and playing with cramping which left him barely able to do more than stand and hit.

On the women’s side, Francesca Schiavone reached the final eight, beating former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Russian 14th-seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova upset third-seeded and two-time Grand Slam finalist Vera Zvonareva, 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2.

The women’s draw has now lost its three top seeds as Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters went out earlier in the week. The exit of No. 3 Zvonareva marks the first time for that situation in the post-1968 Open era.

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