Djokovic leads been-there-done-that crew at wild French Open

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Surprising outcomes and “Who is that?” tales abound as this one-of-these-is-not-like-the-others French Open heads to the fourth round — with the wild-card entry, the pair of qualifiers and the group of women and men who maintain advancing of their match debuts.

And then there are the recognized portions still round, the been-there-done-that crew, led by No. 1-seeded Novak Djokovic, who reached the round of 16 for the 11th consecutive yr, equaling a record held by his Big Three rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

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Forget the concept of an early upset and even slightest upstaging of Djokovic. He is outclassing opponents and making each contest uncompetitive, but once more ceding merely 5 games — as he has every day trip up to now on this journey to Roland Garros — in a 6-Zero 6-Three 6-2 victory Saturday over 153rd-ranked Daniel Elahi Galan.

“If you impose yourself from the very beginning on the court, which I have in those first three matches here,” mentioned Djokovic, who’s 34-1 in 2020 as he bids for a second French Open championship and 18th Grand Slam title in all, “then it makes it hard for them to really believe that they can come back and make a turnaround in the match.” Galan confirmed as a lot.

“Of course he’s superior (to) me, but you also feel like you have to make everything perfect or you will lose zero, zero and zero,” Galan mentioned.”And I used to be (down 6-Zero 2-0), and I used to be apprehensive about it.”Djokovic was involved, actually, by only one matter: the rain that was falling.

As he mentioned to chair umpire Jaume Campistol, “What is the reason for not closing the roof if we have it?” Seems cheap.

Didn’t appear to have an effect on Djokovic’s play, although.

The drop shot and lob mixtures had been working effectively. The reflex returns of 125 mph (200 kph) would-be aces had been impeccable.

And these forehands?”It was like a rocket. Every forehand,” mentioned Galan, who referred to as that stroke way more spectacular in particular person than on TV.”I used to be not in a position to even react.”Eventually, however just after Galan slipped behind the baseline whereas making an attempt to vary instructions and Djokovic checked on him, play was paused and the USD 55 million retractable cover was shut.

Djokovic kidded round with the grounds crew, even grabbing a brush to assist sweep the traces earlier than motion resumed.

No 2-seeded Nadal, the 12-time champion in Paris, and No 3 Dominic Thiem, the runner-up to him the last two years, each play within the fourth round Sunday towards 20-year-old opponents who’re ranked exterior the Top 200. Nadal faces Sebastian Korda, the American who went via qualifying, whereas Thiem meets Hugo Gaston, the Frenchman who bought in by way of a wild card.

Those are the types of newcomers filling the sector this yr — just six of the 16 girls left are seeded; 10 of the remaining males are — prompting numerous theories for why.

Is it the additional rain and chill and slower courts, courtesy of the September-October dates as an alternative of the usual May-June, a change made due to the coronavirus pandemic? Is it the restricted count of people within the stands — 1,000 allowed each day, as an alternative of greater than 30,000 — additionally on account of COVID-19?Is it the dearth of matches for anybody, due to the game’s greater than five-month hiatus that started in March? Is it the particular dearth of clay-court preparation? Is it the two-week hole from the tip of the U.S.

Open to the beginning of the French Open?

There is one thing of a prevailing sense amongst some players that, as expressed by Daniel Altmaier, the 22-year-old German who’s ranked 186th, and by no means had participated in a Grand Slam match till qualifying for this one, “Literally everyone can beat everyone at the moment.”As if getting down to show that every one by himself, Altmaier hasn’t dropped a set via three main-draw matches, together with a surprisingly easy 6-2 7-6 (5) 6-Four humbling of No 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy to observe up on a victory over No. 30 Jan-Lennard Struff, a pal, countryman and long-time follow associate.

Now comes one other seeded foe for Altmaier: No 17 Pablo Carreño Busta. The different fourth-round males’s matches Monday: Djokovic vs No 15 Karen Khachanov, No 5 Stefanos Tsitipas vs No 18 Grigor Dimitrov, No 13 Andrey Rublev vs Marton Fucsovics.

The girls’s matchups established Saturday: Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin towards Fiona Ferro; two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova towards Zhang Shuai; Paula Badosa towards Laura Siegemund; and No 30 Ons Jabeur vs. Danielle Collins.

“You can go out any round,” mentioned Garbiñe Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion who was crushed by the 57th-ranked Collins 7-5 2-6 6-Four in Saturday’s last match.”I’m seeing players that, , a few of them (I’ve) by no means seen earlier than, enjoying unimaginable.”Like Altmaier, Korda, Gaston and 19-year-old Jannik Skinner — who made this just the second French Open within the Open period, which started in 1968, with a quartet of males making the fourth round the primary time they performed the occasion — Badosa prolonged her preliminary look into the second week. The 22-year-old from Spain, ranked 87th, defeated 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-Four 6-3.

“It’s really nice, I think, overall for tennis to see new faces, young players,”

[Attribution HT.]

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