The last time Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic met on a tennis court - in the fourth round of the US Open - the result was not what anyone would have expected.
Djokovic came into that match undefeated since the beginning of the season, riding a 26-match winning streak. He was heavily favored to win the title in New York given the absence of his major rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
But Djokovic's US Open came to an end in the most unexpected way, as he was disqualified for accidentally hitting a linesperson with a ball.
The Serb has rebounded remarkably well since then, winning the Italian Open in Rome and looking very sharp in his first four rounds at the French Open (where he hasn't dropped a single set).
Carreno Busta, meanwhile, had gone on to reach his second Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. He then lost his first match in Rome, to Rafael Nadal, looking understandably fatigued.
On Wednesday, Djokovic and Carreno Busta will meet again, in the quarterfinals of the French Open. But matchup-wise, Carreno Busta doesn't have a lot going for him in this encounter; prior to their US Open clash the two players had met thrice, with Novak Djokovic winning on all three occasions. And two of those matches were on clay, at the Monte Carlo Masters.
At the start of the tournament, the Spaniard had said he felt very confident about playing on red dirt. But after his fourth round win over German Daniel Altmaier, Carreno Busta told the press in Paris that he has been a bit unwell and that he hopes to be fit in time for his match against Novak Djokovic.
"I had a little general discomfort, my stomach was bothering me," Carreno Busta said. "I've had a strange couple of days, today a little worse, I went to the doctor, he measured my temperature and I was fine."
Against Novak Djokovic, I need to be 100%: Pablo Carreno Busta
The Spaniard called for a medical timeout after the second set against Altmaier, in which he overcame a 2-5 deficit, but he felt better in the third set.
"They have given me something for nausea," he said. "In the third set, I felt better and I tried to close the points quickly, I played brave and aggressive, I had no other option."
Carreno Busta is fully aware that he would need to be 100 percent fit in order to have any chance against the 17-time Grand Slam champion on Wednesday.
"Against Novak Djokovic I need to be one hundred percent; being like today I have no chance against him," the Spaniard said. "I need to recover. He feels comfortable playing here. If I play well, it will be an opportunity to show myself the level I have, if I can recover."
"I do not see myself inferior to anyone if I am one hundred percent. If I am, I have my opportunities, but Novak Djokovic has been playing well, he has won in Rome, he is playing his matches well at Roland Garros. At least, I hope I can play a good game. and enjoy," he added.
The quarter-final clash against Novak Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.Published 06 Oct 2020, 13:33 IST