Novak Djokovic strengthened his claims as a French Open contender by reaching the quarter-finals with a straight-set victory over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

Djokovic, seeded 20th, won 6-3 6-4 6-2 against 30th seed Verdasco.

The 31-year-old Serb has reached the last eight at Roland Garros for a 12th time – an Open era record.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion will play Marco Cecchinato in the last eight after the Italian upset Belgian eighth seed David Goffin.

Djokovic, who won his only Roland Garros title in 2016 to complete a career Grand Slam, was not considered among the pre-tournament favourites following an injury-hit year.

“Considering all the circumstances in the last 15 months it is quite an achievement to get to the quarters of a Slam,” said Djokovic, who has also reached the Roland Garros last eight for a ninth successive year.

“I always play well at a Slam and always build my form to peak at a Slam.

“Hopefully it will get even better. I don’t want to stop here.”

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