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

hannahwilks in French Open 02 Oct 2020
Novak Djokovic (Photo by Laurent Zabulon/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Novak Djokovic can surpass Roger Federer for most match wins at the French Open if he beats Daniel Elahi Galan in Saturday’s third-round Roland Garros clash.

Djokovic vs Galan is live from Roland Garros on Saturday 3 October, 4pm local/3pm BST

The 2016 French Open champion tied fellow Roland Garros winner Roger Federer for 70 match wins at the clay-court Grand Slam – the most of any player in the Open Era save for Rafael Nadal, who is looking for his 96th win at the tournament when he takes on Stefanos Travaglia on Friday.

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

Djokovic has won 16 of 17 sets he has played on clay in 2020 and has cruised through his matches at the French Open so far – could Colombian lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galan do something to surprise the top seed?

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

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Djokovic vs Galan: Head-to-head

This will be the first match between Novak Djokovic and Daniel Elahi Galan.

Djokovic vs Galan: Preview

It’s hard to envision how Novak Djokovic’s first two matches at Roland Garros could have been much smoother for the top seed. There has been much talk about the very different conditions prevailing in Paris this year as the result of the rescheduling of the French Open from its usual May-June slot to September-October, and every day’s play so far has been affected by rain to some extent, but not under the roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier where Djokovic has been plying his trade, dropping five games each against Mikael Ymer and Ricardas Berankis.
Berankis, the Lithuanian with the compact game, had actually pushed Djokovic to a tie-break in their last meeting in ‘Cincinnati the week before the US Open. But that was Djokovic’s first match back after a six-month absence from competition enjoined by the global health crisis. Since then he had played 14 matches, winning all 13 of the completed ones, and claimed the 36th Rome Masters title of his career. It showed as he flattened Berankis on Thursday, barely breaking a sweat in the process.

To be fair, Berankis is not as dangerous on clay as he is on hard courts and the world no. 66 was clearly struggling physically, requiring treatment on his back between the second and third sets. But he was also simply out of his league.

So we don’t really know how Djokovic is playing, because he hasn’t been meaningfully tested, but we do know that he is having no trouble dusting lower-ranked opponents in these conditions and that he’s conserving plenty of energy for potentially tougher tests in the second week.

Daniel Elahi Galan (© John Cordes/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Both trends are likely to continue as he faces Daniel Elahi Galan in the third round on Saturday. Galan, currently ranked world no. 153, is not a familiar name outside of the Challenger Tour where he usually plies his trade. The 24-year-old Colombian won his only Challenger title to date on clay in San Benedetto in 2018, and made his first impact on the ATP World Tour when he reached the semifinals of the U.S. Men’s Clay-Court Championship in Houston, an ATP 250, as a qualifier in 2019, beating Steve Johnson and Jordan Thompson.

Breaking into the top 200 as a result, Galan played his first main-draw match at the Australian Open in January after qualifying, losing to Chilean fellow qualifier Alejandro Tabilo. He went on to reach the final of the Newport Beach Challenger, beating then-world no. 54 Miomir Kecmanovic on the way, but went 0-2 in post-shutdown matches in Rome and Prostejov. He got two wins in qualifying in Paris, but went down to 23rd seed Henri Laaksonen, only to be able to enter the draw as a lucky loser: He’s made excellent use of that passport, beating Cameron Norrie in five sets and Tennys Sandgren in straights to set up this third-round clash with Djokovic.

Four of Galan’s seven career wins over top-100 players have come in 2020, and six of them on clay; an unknown opponent is always dangerous, but he’s completely out of his league here. Djokovic should record another efficient, dominant win.

Djokovic vs Galan: Prediction