The second-seeded Serb improved his 2011 record to 38-0 - and stretched his winning streak to 40 - on the second day of the tournament at Roland Garros. And he barely had to sweat doing it, breaking his Dutch opponent six times.
“I was serving really, really well and being very aggressive, using every opportunity to step into the court,” Djokovic said. “I was quite in control of the match.”
Roger Federer, meanwhile, joined Djokovic in the second round by beating Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), but sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych was knocked out by French journeyman Stephane Robert in five sets.
On the women’s side, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki eliminated 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-2, and defending champion Francesca Schiavone beat Melanie Oudin of the United States 6-2, 6-0.
Djokovic walked out onto center court as the co-favorite after beating Rafael Nadal in two clay-court finals leading up to the French Open. He could only meet Nadal in the final at Roland Garros, and if he does he will be assured of taking over the No. 1 ranking from the Spaniard regardless of that result.
“Pressure is always there,” said Djokovic, who turned 24 on Sunday. “I know there is a lot of expectations because of the streak I have, but, look, I’m really happy the way I’m handling things right now on and off the court.”
Djokovic needs five more wins to break John McEnroe’s Open-era record of 42 for the best unbeaten start, and a sixth victory will make him the first man to win the Australian and French Opens back-to-back since Jim Courier in 1992.
“Coming into a Grand Slam with three titles on clay courts and winning against the best player ever on this surface gives me a lot of motivation, a lot of confidence that I’m trying to use on the court,” Djokovic said.
“Important thing from my side was to be solid in my own serve,” Federer said, “which I was all the way through from start to finish.”