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

hannahwilks in French Open 06 Oct 2020
Novak Djokovic (Photo by Laurent Zabulon/ ABACAPRESS.COM)

Will a French Open rematch of the fateful US Open clash see Novak Djokovic beat Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in the semifinals?

Djokovic vs Carreno Busta is live from Roland Garros on Wednesday 7 October, 5pm local/4pm BST

Novak Djokovic has only technically lost to one player in 2020 – and it’s that player who stands between him and a tenth French Open semifinal appearance.

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

It was Pablo Carreno Busta across the net when Djokovic vented his frustration and earned that now-infamous default in the fourth round of the US Open. The Spaniard has never beaten Djokovic in a completed match – nor has anybody else in 2020.

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

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Djokovic vs Carreno Busta: Head-to-head

Novak Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Pablo Carreno Busta 3-1. Carreno Busta’s solitary victory came when Djokovic was defaulted at the US Open when trailing 5-6 in the opening set.

On clay, Djokovic leads 2-0, beating Carreno Busta at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in 2014 and 2017.

In completed matches, Djokovic has won six of seven sets against Carreno Busta.

Djokovic vs Carreno Busta: Preview

Novak Djokovic has lost more quarterfinals at the French Open than at any other Grand Slam – a grand total of four out of the 13 he has played – with defeats to Rafael Nadal, Jurgen Melzer, Marco Cecchinato and Dominic Thiem. Can Pablo Carreno Busta join that elite group?
Djokovic has yet to lose a set at the French Open this year, and he obviously has yet to lose a completed match in 2020 (or a completed match to Carreno Busta, for that matter). The question is whether he’s playing his best tennis, or if he’s yet to be meaningfully tested. I don’t think he has been playing his best, but I also think he hasn’t needed it (he didn’t play his best in Rome, either, and he still won the title).

It’s the Djokovic forehand which troubled him in New York and in Rome, and it’s the Djokovic forehand which Mikael Ymer, Ricardas Berankis, Daniel Elahi Galan and Karen Khachanov have, between them, been unable to put under sustained, meaningful scrutiny. Khachanov pushed Djokovic the most, especially in the first set, but just doesn’t have the consistency and relentlessness off the ground (or didn’t on Monday, anyway).

Pablo Carreno Busta (ChrysleneCaillaud/Panoramic)

Might Carreno Busta? The 29-year-old Spaniard has been playing some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play since the shutdown – better than when he was a top-10 player in 2017 (briefly). Now 10-3 since competition resumed, he did of course massively benefit from Djokovic’s default in the fourth round on his journey to the US Open semifinals, but it was his second time there, and he was playing very well against the Serb – whether he would have been able to sustain that level, and whether Djokovic would have found a way back, are open questions to which we will never know the answer.

I don’t see a win for Carreno Busta in this match. In the final analysis, the Spaniard’s game, while well-rounded, lacks those overwhelming offensive weapons which you need to end points against Djokovic, and he isn’t going to out-grind the Serb; who could? (Well, Rafael Nadal, but that’s another story.) This should be Djokovic’s toughest test so far, however, and he will have to raise his level. Expect Carreno Busta to make it a testing match.

Djokovic vs Carreno Busta: Prediction