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Djokovic, Nadal on course for semifinal in Paris

  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after defeating Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after defeating Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Spain's Rafael Nadal blows out the candles on his birthday cake as he celebrates his 27th birthday on center court after defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori in three sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Spain's Rafael Nadal blows out the candles on his birthday cake as he celebrates his 27th birthday on center court after defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori in three sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Spain's Rafael Nadal returns against Japan's Kei Nishikori in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Spain's Rafael Nadal returns against Japan's Kei Nishikori in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Kohlschreiber in four sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

    Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Kohlschreiber in four sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

  • Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Germany's Tommy Haas celebrates defeating Russia's Mikhail Youzhny  in three sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Germany's Tommy Haas celebrates defeating Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in three sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

    Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

  • Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber serves to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber serves to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Germany's Tommy Hass returns the ball to Russia's Mikhail Youzhny during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Haas won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Germany's Tommy Hass returns the ball to Russia's Mikhail Youzhny during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Haas won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Russia's Mikhail Youzhny returns against Germany's Tommy Haas in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Haas won in three sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Russia's Mikhail Youzhny returns against Germany's Tommy Haas in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Haas won in three sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Russia's Maria Sharapova returns against Sloane Stephens of the U.S.  in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Russia's Maria Sharapova returns against Sloane Stephens of the U.S. in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Victoria Azarenka of Belarus serves against Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Victoria Azarenka of Belarus serves against Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns against Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Azarenka won in two sets 6-3, 6-0. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns against Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Azarenka won in two sets 6-3, 6-0. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates as the ball goes out, defeating Italy's Francesca Schiavone in two sets 6-3, 6-0, their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates as the ball goes out, defeating Italy's Francesca Schiavone in two sets 6-3, 6-0, their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Italy's Francesca Schiavone returns against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Italy's Francesca Schiavone returns against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • Russia's Mikhail Youzhny watches the ball after a point as he plays Germany's Tommy Hass during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Haas won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Russia's Mikhail Youzhny watches the ball after a point as he plays Germany's Tommy Hass during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Haas won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts as she defeats Sloane Stephens, of the U.S, during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Sharapova won 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

    Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts as she defeats Sloane Stephens, of the U.S, during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Sharapova won 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

  • Sloane Stephens of the U.S. serves against Russia's Maria Sharapova in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Sharapova won in two sets 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    Sloane Stephens of the U.S. serves against Russia's Maria Sharapova in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Sharapova won in two sets 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • France's Richard Gasquet against reacts as he plays Switzerland's Stanials Wawrinka during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    France's Richard Gasquet against reacts as he plays Switzerland's Stanials Wawrinka during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Serbia's Jelena Jankovic celebrates winning against Jamie Hampton of the U.S.  in two sets 6-0, 6-2, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Serbia's Jelena Jankovic celebrates winning against Jamie Hampton of the U.S. in two sets 6-0, 6-2, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Jamie Hampton of the U.S. turns away after missing a return against Serbia's Jelena Jankovic in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Jankovic won in two sets 6-0, 6-2. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

    Jamie Hampton of the U.S. turns away after missing a return against Serbia's Jelena Jankovic in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Jankovic won in two sets 6-0, 6-2. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

  • Matt Kuchar, left, accepts the trophy from Jack Nicklaus after winning the Memorial golf tournament on Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

    Matt Kuchar, left, accepts the trophy from Jack Nicklaus after winning the Memorial golf tournament on Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Kohlschreiber in four sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

    Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Kohlschreiber in four sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after defeating Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Spain's Rafael Nadal blows out the candles on his birthday cake as he celebrates his 27th birthday on center court after defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori in three sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Spain's Rafael Nadal returns against Japan's Kei Nishikori in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Kohlschreiber in four sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
  • Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Japan's Kei Nishikori during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Germany's Tommy Haas celebrates defeating Russia's Mikhail Youzhny  in three sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
  • Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber serves to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Germany's Tommy Hass returns the ball to Russia's Mikhail Youzhny during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Haas won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • Russia's Mikhail Youzhny returns against Germany's Tommy Haas in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Haas won in three sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Russia's Maria Sharapova returns against Sloane Stephens of the U.S.  in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Victoria Azarenka of Belarus serves against Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns against Italy's Francesca Schiavone in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Azarenka won in two sets 6-3, 6-0. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates as the ball goes out, defeating Italy's Francesca Schiavone in two sets 6-3, 6-0, their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Italy's Francesca Schiavone returns against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • Russia's Mikhail Youzhny watches the ball after a point as he plays Germany's Tommy Hass during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Haas won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • Russia's Maria Sharapova reacts as she defeats Sloane Stephens, of the U.S, during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. Sharapova won 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
  • Sloane Stephens of the U.S. serves against Russia's Maria Sharapova in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Sharapova won in two sets 6-4, 6-3. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
  • France's Richard Gasquet against reacts as he plays Switzerland's Stanials Wawrinka during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Monday, June 3, 2013 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • Serbia's Jelena Jankovic celebrates winning against Jamie Hampton of the U.S.  in two sets 6-0, 6-2, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Jamie Hampton of the U.S. turns away after missing a return against Serbia's Jelena Jankovic in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. Jankovic won in two sets 6-0, 6-2. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
  • Matt Kuchar, left, accepts the trophy from Jack Nicklaus after winning the Memorial golf tournament on Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
  • Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber defeating Kohlschreiber in four sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday June 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

PARIS – Less than 48 hours after learning of the death of his childhood coach, Novak Djokovic was on court at the French Open, determined to complete a career Grand Slam in honor of the woman he likened to a “second mother.”

Still grieving, Djokovic began shakily yesterday. Six of the match’s first seven unforced errors were his. After one poor exchange, he chucked his racket hard enough to break it. He dropped a set for the only time in four matches so far.

After recovering quickly to dispatch 16th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, and reach the quarterfinals at a 16th consecutive major tournament, Djokovic spoke from the heart about the passing of Jelena Gencic, who was 76.

“It hasn’t been easy, but this is life. You know, life gives you things (but also) takes away close people,” Djokovic said. “We were very close throughout my whole life, and she taught me a lot of things that are part of me, part of my character.”

Gencic connected with a 6-year-old Novak at a tennis camp, then worked with him for five years.

“I feel even more responsible now to go all the way in this tournament,” said the No. 1-ranked Djokovic, who owns six Grand Slam titles but none from Roland Garros. “I want to do it for her.”

He’ll need to beat three more opponents to accomplish that, starting with 12th-seeded Tommy Haas, who at 35 became the oldest French Open quarterfinalist since 1971 by eliminating Mikhail Youzhny, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, in less than 1½ hours.

By the second set, Youzhny was so out of sorts he destroyed a racket by slamming it nine times against his sideline seat.

Haas is a four-time Grand Slam semifinalist who climbed to No. 2 in the rankings at age 24. But recent times have been difficult because of serious injuries and operations, including to his right shoulder and hip, and he missed more than a full season.

“Who would have thought two years ago I’d be in this position today?” Haas asked. “I wouldn’t have.”

He’s certainly persistent.

The 12 French Open appearances it took Haas to reach his first quarterfinal in Paris is a record. And he needed 13 match points in the third round to get past John Isner in five sets.

“It’s easy sometimes to … throw the white towel and say, ‘I’m done. I have achieved a lot of things. I don’t really have to worry so much financially and I can live a good life.’ But at the same time,” Haas explained, “maybe there was something in me still that said, ‘You know what? I can maybe still do something.’ ”

If Djokovic can get past Haas, he’ll find a familiar foe in the semifinals: seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who played his first relatively routine opening set of the tournament and put together a 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 13 Kei Nishikori of Japan.

Nadal, who beat Djokovic in last year’s final and is 56-1 in his French Open career, declared: “I played much better today than the first three matches. No doubt about that.”

Consider that something of a warning for No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka, who was trailing by two sets when he got into an extended and animated argument with the chair umpire, demanding that a line judge be replaced. Wawrinka slowly, steadily turned the match around and edged No. 7 Richard Gasquet, 6-7 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 8-6.

Gasquet tired as the match stretched past four hours. Asked afterward where he felt pain, he replied: “In the soul, for sure. A little bit in the leg, too. But more in the soul.”

Maria Sharapova moved into the quarterfinals by beating 17th-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, 6-4, 6-3, part of a rough day for Americans.

The other two in action also exited in straight sets: 54th-ranked Jamie Hampton lost to 18th-seeded Jelena Jankovic, 6-0, 6-2, and 67th-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands was beaten by 12th-seeded Maria Kirilenko, 7-5, 6-4. Kirilenko, who’s engaged to two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, now meets two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, a 6-3, 6-0 winner over 2010 French Open titlist Francesca Schiavone.

Fifteen-time major champion Serena Williams, the only U.S. singles player left, plays her quarterfinal against 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova today, when No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska faces No. 5 Sara Errani. The men’s quarterfinals today are 17-time major champion Roger Federer against No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and No. 4 David Ferrer against No. 32 Tommy Robredo, the first man in 86 years to win three consecutive Grand Slam matches after dropping the opening two sets.

For Federer, this is the 36th Grand Slam quarterfinal in a row, a record for the 45-year Open era. Djokovic’s streak isn’t even half as long, but it ranks third.

The last time the Serb failed to get that far at a major tournament was the 2009 French Open, where he lost to Kohlschreiber in the third round. Once out of Monday’s tricky first set, Djokovic found his strokes and, most of all, his serve, which erased 11 of 13 break points.

His former coach, Gencic, died Saturday, when Djokovic played his third-round match, but his entourage kept the news from him until after that victory. In April 2012, during a tournament at Monte Carlo, Djokovic found out hours before playing a match that his grandfather died.

That experience, Djokovic said, “helped me a little bit to kind of stay tough this time because it took me a long time last year to recover. It was very emotional. This year, of course, again, very close person, so another shock for me. But I’m handling it better. I’m trying to focus my thoughts on the nicest memories.”

Djokovic last spent time with Gencic when he visited Belgrade a couple of months ago. Their final phone conversation, he said, was two weeks ago, shortly before the French Open.

“She was honest and open,” Djokovic recounted. “She told me, ‘Listen, you have to focus. You have to give your attention to this tournament. This is a tournament you need to win.’ She was giving me this kind of inspiration and motivation.”

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