Djokovic vs Berankis French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

Novak Djokovic targets the 70th French Open match win of his career as he takes on Ricardas Berankis on Thursday.

Djokovic vs Berankis is live from Roland Garros on Thursday 1 October, 2.30pm local/1.30pm BST

Coming into Roland Garros with a 68-14 record at the Grand Slam, top seed Novak Djokovic dropped just five games in an opening cruise past Mikael Ymer and will improve to 70-14 in French Open matches should he beat Ricardas Berankis on Thursday.

French Open 2020: Find out tournament information for Roland Garros 2020 and how to stream French Open matches live

World no. 66 Berankis has been playing some decent tennis lately, but has not managed to take a set from Djokovic in two previous meetings.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Djokovic vs Berankis live

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Djokovic vs Berankis: Head-to-head

Novak Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Ricardas Berankis 2-0, dropping five games to him at the US Open in 2013 and defeating him 7-6(2), 6-4 at the ‘Cincinnati’ Masters in New York a month ago.

This will be their first meeting on clay.

Djokovic vs Berankis: Preview

It’s tough to say too much about how Novak Djokovic is faring in these unusual French Open conditions, because the top seed wasn’t really challenged in his first-round match against Mikael Ymer. With all due respect to the Swede, he wasn’t really prepared to challenge Djokovic and the world no. 1 glided through 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 under the closed roof of Court Philippe-Chatrier, taking 99 minutes to beat Ymer.

Djokovic was broken twice, but there’s no particular cause for concern in that, not when he also broke Ymer nine times. Of more concern might be the fact that he seemed to be feeling something in his arm, but Djokovic himself didn’t seem too troubled by it, saying after the match that he thought it was just a matter of adjusting to these different conditions and the new balls the tournament is using in 2020.

Now 31-1 in 2020 and yet to lose a completed match this season, Djokovic has perfected the art of cruising through the early rounds of a Grand Slam while expending as little energy as possible, and he will look to be similarly efficient against Berankis.

Ricardas Berankis (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

Lithuania’s Berankis was 0-6 at the French Open before this year’s event, snapping that losing streak against Hugo Dellien of Bolivia in the first round in straight sets. Better known as a hard-court player, most of Berankis’s best wins have come on indoor hard courts. He was ranked as high as world no. 50 in 2016, but was knocked back outside the top 200 by injury problems; he typically divides his time between the ATP Tour and Challenger Tours. Earlier this year, he made the semifinals of the Maharashtra Open in Pune, and after shutdown he qualified for the ‘Cincinnati’ Masters in New York, losing to Djokovic in the second round in the Serb’s first match back since shutdown; he also made the third round of the US Open before losing to Pablo Carreno Busta.

So Berankis is in some decent form, but it’s not really going to matter, unfortunately for the Lithuanian. With the exception of two wins over Milos Raonic, Berankis has never fared well against the top 10; he doesn’t really have the outright weapons to win points against them, although he is compact and fleet-footed. In these conditions, he won’t be able to get the ball through the court as easily as Djokovic, and he obviously can’t outlast the Serb in long rallies. A one-sided win by Djokovic looks indicated.

Djokovic vs Berankis: Prediction

After 24 weeks out of competition, Novak Djokovic returns to action as he faces a player he’s dominated in the past at the Cincinnati Masters, played this year in New York.

Djokovic vs Berankis is live from Cincinnati on Monday 24 August

Novak Djokovic brings a perfect 18-0 record in 2020 and a 21-match winning streak into his first match since 29 February, when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

ATP Cincinnati-New York Masters: Tournament information, schedules and live streams for the Western & Southern Open

Djokovic will be playing behind closed doors at the home of the US Open as he takes on Lithuanian journeyman Ricardas Berankis, who managed a handful of games in their only previous meeting.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Djokovic vs Berankis live

Western & Southern Open matches including Novak Djokovic vs Ricardas Berankis are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.

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3. Go to tennis > ATP New York > Djokovic vs Berankis

Djokovic vs Berankis: Head-to-head

Djokovic beat Berankis 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in their only previous meeting, which took place at the US Open in 2013.

Ricardas Berankis has a 2-10 record vs top-10 players (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

Djokovic vs Berankis: Preview

The world no. 1 back on court and back to doing what he does best: It’s a thrilling prospect for tennis fans, but it’s not necessarily easy to know what to expect, either. It’s been just under six months since Djokovic last played an ATP Tour match, and a couple since he even played an exhibition match after participants testing positive for COVID-19 brought Djokovic’s Adria Tour to an abrupt end.

Djokovic was certainly in superlative form before the shutdown, winning his first 18 matches of the season to capture a record eighth Australian Open title despite the best efforts of Dominic Thiem, claim the Dubai title for the fifth time and lead Serbia to victory at the ATP Cup, to boot. Cincinnati has always been his least successful Masters (by his own insanely high standards), with Djokovic finally taking the title in 2018 after five runner-up finishes to complete the career Masters Slam; but circumstances, timing and venue are so different in 2020 that past performance offers little to go on.

Djokovic hasn’t had too many lengthy injury breaks in his career, but the 33-year-old has become adept at calibrating every aspect of his existence to optimize his on-court performance and he would not be playing the Western & Southern Open and the US Open if he did not have informed reason to believe that he will be in a position to play something in the region of his best tennis.

Probably the biggest question marks for Djokovic are how his body will adjust to the rigours of competition, on the one hand, and how quickly it will take the ATP’s most formidable returner to re-hone his reflexes.

Ricardas Berankis has one advantage: He has match-fitness after playing his way through qualifying with wins over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Yasutaka Uchiyama, and gutting out a tough victory over wildcard Tommy Paul 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 to reach the second round. The compact Lithuanian reached a career-high ranking of world no. 50 in May 2016 after winning three Challenger Tour titles during the preceding 12 months and has made two ATP Tour career finals, but he is 2-10 against top-10 players and both victories came against Milos Raonic on indoor hard courts. Djokovic outdoors is a different proposition. Even if the Serb is rusty, Berankis has little in his counter-punching game with which to puncture the supreme defense of Djokovic.

Djokovic is so rightly favoured in this match that it’s difficult to find value, but a straightforward win for the world no. 1 is indicated.

Djokovic vs Berankis: Prediction