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

hannahwilks in French Open 30 Sep 2020
Novak Djokovic (©Sebastien Muylaert/MAXPPP)

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