- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2011

PARIS — His 43rd consecutive victory complete, Novak Djokovic ripped off his white baseball cap, pivoted to look up at his parents, coach and other supporters in the stands, then let out a yell.

It was the sort of visceral reaction one might expect at the conclusion of a taut, tense contest, not the rather routine 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 result the second-seeded Djokovic assembled Sunday at the expense of No. 13 Richard Gasquet in the fourth round of the French Open.

“I didn’t expect it to be easy, that’s for sure,” said Serbia’s Djokovic, who briefly addressed the crowd in French, drawing laughter and cheers. “Maybe the scoreline says differently, but I really … had to work.”

Each match carries extra meaning these days for Djokovic, whose winning streak began with two Davis Cup victories in December and is the third longest since the Open era began in 1968. Now 41-0 in 2011, he’s one win shy of John McEnroe’s mark of 42-0 in 1984.

Roger Federer, a 16-time major champion, moved a step closer to a semifinal showdown against Djokovic by overwhelming No. 14 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, reaching the quarterfinals at a record 28th Grand Slam tournament in a row.

Federer next faces No. 7 David Ferrer of Spain or No. 9 Gael Monfils of France, whose fourth-round match was suspended in the fourth set because of darkness. Djokovic meets 49th-ranked Fabio Fognini of Italy, who set aside a left thigh injury that left him immobile and erased five match points to beat Albert Montanes of Spain 11-9 in the fifth set.

While the elite men are still around - on Monday, No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 4 Andy Murray and No. 5 Robin Soderling try to join Djokovic and No. 3 Federer in the quarterfinals - chaos continues in the women’s draw.

No. 3 Vera Zvonareva, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, lost the last five games and was defeated 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-2 by No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. Zvonareva’s exit followed those of No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, and No. 2 Kim Clijsters in the second, making this the first French Open - and only third Grand Slam tournament - in the Open era with none of the top three seeded women in the quarterfinals.

The past two French Open champions remain, though: 2010’s Francesca Schiavone got past 10th-seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; and 2009’s Svetlanta Kuznetsova was a 6-7 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2 winner against No. 28 Daniela Hantuchova, who eliminated Clijsters.

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