Roland Garros 2021: Novak Djokovic vs Ricardas Berankis preview, head-to-head & prediction

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Mihir Gawade

Match details

Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs Ricardas Berankis

Date: 5 June 2021

Tournament: Roland Garros 2021

Round: Third round (Round of 32)

Venue: Paris, France

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Red Clay

Prize money: โ‚ฌ17,171,108

Match timing: Approx. 2 pm local time, 12 pm GMT, 8 am EST, 5.30 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP

Novak Djokovic vs Ricardas Berankis preview

Top seed Novak Djokovic will face unseeded Ricardas Berankis on Saturday in the third round of the 2021 French Open.

Novak Djokovic has made a flying start to his quest for a Double Career Grand Slam, registering back-to-back straight-sets victories.

The World No. 1 would have expected a stiff challenge in the second round against seasoned claycourter Pablo Cuevas, but the Serb passed the test with flying colors.

Djokovic went down an early break in the opening set but quickly turned things around and took charge of the match. The Serb turned in a much-improved performance from that of his first-round encounter against Tennys Sandrgen and had little difficulty finishing Cuevas off in the next two sets.

Ricardas Berankis, meanwhile, upset home favorite Ugo Humbert in the opening round before battling past James Duckworth in the second. Berankis was forced to work hard by the Australian but he managed to come through 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-0.

At 30, Berankis has registered his best-ever performance at the French Open by reaching the third round. The former World No. 50 had only ever managed one main draw win in Paris prior to this year.

Novak Djokovic vs Ricardas Berankis head-to-head

Ricardas Berankis
Ricardas Berankis

Novak Djokovic and Ricardas Berankis have faced off thrice before, with two of their meetings coming last year.

Djokovic has won all three matches but was tested at the 2020 Cincinnati Masters, where Berankis led by a break in the opening set but eventually succumbed 7-6(2) 6-4.

Their most recent meeting was at last year's Roland Garros in the second round, with Djokovic emerging victorious for the loss of just five games.

Novak Djokovic vs Ricardas Berankis prediction

Novak Djokovic underlined his credentials as Rafael Nadal's biggest threat at Roland Garros with a strong second-round display against Pablo Cuevas.

Djokovic's serve has become his most potent weapon, even on clay. Watching the Serb bail himself out of tricky situations with big first serves has become a familiar sight over the past three years.

Even on Thursday against Cuevas, the 34-year-old saved eight out of the nine break points he faced with clutch serving. At one stage of the match, Djokovic reeled off five straight points from 0-40 while serving for the first set.

Ricardas Berankis' high-risk playing style has seldom reaped rewards on clay; the Lithuanian has won only 28% of the claycourt encounters in his career.

Berankis could trouble Djokovic early on if he plays out of his skin but he is unlikely to be able to sustain the level needed to upset the Serb.

Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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