PARIS (Reuters) - Grigor Dimitrov geared up for a third-round clash with world number one Novak Djokovic on Thursday by dismissing French teenager Lucas Pouille 6-1 7-6 (4) 6-1 in the French Open second round.
The Bulgarian 26th seed, who beat Djokovic in the second round of the Madrid claycourt Masters this month, had too much in store for his opponent, who bowed out after sending a forehand into the net.
Dimitrov, 22, had done most of the job before the first of two rain interruptions. He finished it off in ruthless style, moving Pouille left and right with great authority.
Dimitrov, the first Bulgarian man to reach the third round of a grand slam, will now face Djokovic, after the Serbian saw off Argentine Guido Pella on Court Philippe Chatrier later on Thursday.
“I‘m going to take a bit of rest because it’s played over the best of five sets,” a beaming Dimitrov, who is seeded for the first time at a grand-slam event, told a courtside interviewer.
“It’s always nice to play the number one in the world. I‘m just going to get ready, it’s just the third round of the tournament.”
Dimitrov beat Djokovic 7-6(6) 6-7(8) 6-3 in Madrid before being eliminated in the third round by Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
In the following tournament, his last before Roland Garros, he was knocked out in the second round by Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Dimitrov, dubbed “Baby Federer”, attracted attention because of his impressive rise in the world rankings, from 95 a year ago to number 28 before the French Open this week.
Djokovic said he was keen to see whether the youngster could live up to his potential.
“That’s what we are about to see, because he’s still young and he has definite potential to be one of the top players, but it’s a very long way for him,” the Serb said.
“A few tournaments don’t change much. Of course it can help him mentally, for his confidence and self-belief on the court, because he’s got shots, he’s got talent.”
Reporting by Julien Pretot and Toby Davis; Editing by Clare Fallon and John Mehaffey