Fixture: Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Date: 26 August 2020
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $4,674,780
Match timing: 3 PM EDT, 12.30 AM IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Ten 2
Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff preview
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been hindered by neck issues this week at the Western & Southern Open, which is being held in New York. But the Serb still came through his first competitive outing since winning Dubai with a routine win over Ricardas Berankis on Monday.
A day later Novak Djokovic produced another clinical straight-sets win, this time over American Tennys Sandgren, to move into the quarterfinals - where he'll take on Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff. In the process, Djokovic extended his winning streak since the start of 2020 to 20-0.
The 33-year-old opened his season by winning all six of his singles matches for Team Serbia in the inaugural ATP Cup. Novak Djokovic then beat Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem in successive matches to successfully defend his Australian Open title and move to 17 Slams overall.
At his next stop, Novak Djokovic escaped match points against Gael Monfils in the semifinal before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win his second title of the year.
You may also like: Novak Djokovic's three best starts to a season
Djokovic's quarterfinal opponent, Jan-Lennard Struff, made a more modest start to the season. The 30-year-old German won two of his three matches at the inaugural ATP Cup, but then lost in the second round at Adelaide and in the first-round of the Australian Open.
There was another opening round exit for Struff, this time in Rotterdam, before he lost to eventual finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Dubai quarterfinals.
Almost six months later, the German has won three consecutive matches in Cincinnati, two of them in three sets, to earn a second shot at the World No. 1.
Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff head-to-head
Perhaps not surprisingly, Novak Djokovic owns a perfect 3-0 head-to-head record against Jan-Lennard Struff.
The Serb won the pair's first two meetings without dropping a set - in the second round of Doha 2017 and the fourth round of Roland Garros 2019. Djokovic then dropped a set against Struff at the Australian Open this year, but that was as good as it got for the German. Novak Djokovic regrouped quickly to complete a four-set win en route to his eighth title at the hardcourt Major.
Novak Djokovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff prediction
Despite a six-month break owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Novak Djokovic seems to have continued from where he left off in Dubai. In his third-round win over Tennys Sandgren, the World No. 1 displayed no signs of the neck issues that have been bothering him all week.
"I'm as close to (being) painless (in my) neck as I can be. I'm feeling very good and that has obviously positively reflected on my game today," Djokovic said after beating Sandgren.
Struff on his part is in good form too, having taken out last year's finalist David Goffin on Tuesday to reach his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal.
However, the German will probably have to wait for a first semifinal in the tournament category as a win over the World No. 1 looks like a difficult, if not impossible, proposition.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.Published 26 Aug 2020, 11:04 IST