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

hannahwilks in French Open 08 Oct 2020
Novak Djokovic (Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

Can Stefanos Tsitsipas stop Novak Djokovic from reaching his fifth French Open final?

Djokovic vs Tsitsipas is live from Roland Garros on Friday 9 October, 5pm local/4pm BST

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic must contend with ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas – and his own physical issues – to reach the French Open final and fulfil his end of a probable date with destiny, also known as 12-time champion Rafael Nadal.

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

Tsitsipas has beaten Djokovic twice, but the top seed will also be concerned with the neck and arm issues which troubled him during a quarterfinal victory over Pablo Carreno Busta which saw him drop his first set of the tournament.

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

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Djokovic vs Tsitsipas: Head-to-head

Novak Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-2, and has won their last two encounters in straight sets (6-1, 6-2 at the Paris Masters last year; 6-3, 6-4 in the Dubai final in February 2020).

Tsitsipas beat Djokovic in their first meeting at the Canada Masters in July 2018 and the Shanghai Masters in autumn 2019.

Djokovic is 1-0 vs Tsitsipas on clay, beating him 6-3, 6-4 at the Madrid Masters in May 2019.

Djokovic vs Tsitsipas: Preview

Novak Djokovic hit his first speed bump of his quest for a second French Open title on Wednesday when he faced Pablo Carreno Busta, the only player to have technically beaten him in 2020 (although Djokovic has still not lost a completed match this year, or to Carreno Busta, ever).

Djokovic dropped the first set to Carreno Busta 4-6 after having lost just 25 games in four matches at Roland Garros, and was clearly physically struggling at the start of the match. Carreno Busta questioned the validity of Djokovic calling the trainer after the first set, but the world no. 1 came on court with tape on his neck and was attempting to stretch out his left arm from the first point, cradling it during the first changeover and even whacking it with his racquet.

After the match, Djokovic didn’t want to go into too much detail about the issue but said that the pain faded away as his body warmed up – entirely plausible, especially given the unusually cold conditions this French Open is being played in, which Nadal has spoken out about.
Djokovic never looked entirely comfortable, but he played good enough tennis to beat Carreno Busta fairly easily, and that’s saying something, given the way that the Spaniard has been playing and competing recently.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo by Laurent Zabulon/ABACAPRESS.COM)

How will he fare against Stefanos Tsitsipas? The Greek came into his quarterfinal clash with Andrey Rublev trailing 0-3 in the head-to-head and with plenty of psychological baggage – having failed to serve out the win against Rublev in the recent Hamburg Open final, for one thing; having had six match points against Borna Coric at the US Open and ending up losing, for another. He finished it having thoroughly outplayed Rublev for a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win, leaving the Russian looking completely out of ideas, and having done it all looking relaxed and playing within himself – he finished with 35 winners to 17 unforced errors, and having been broken just once.

It’s hard to imagine better preparation or a more confidence-boosting victory ahead of a semifinal clash with Djokovic, and Tsitsipas is incredibly comfortable on clay. With Djokovic potentially struggling with this physical issue, too, it’s hard to think of a better set-up for Tsitsipas to really take it to the world no. 1. And yet we’ve been here before with Djokovic, so many times. He knows – almost no one better – how to manage these matches, how to handle these opponents. If he’s in around the same physical condition as he seemed to be against Carreno Busta, I back him to win in a scratchy four.

Djokovic vs Tsitsipas: Prediction

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