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Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic vs Karen Khachanov preview, head-to-head & prediction | French Open 2020

Karen Khachanov (L) and Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Davis Cup
Karen Khachanov (L) and Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Davis Cup
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 05 Oct 2020, 10:44 IST
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Match details

Fixture: Novak Djokovic vs Karen Khachanov 

Date: 5 October 2020

Tournament: Roland Garros 2020

Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)

Venue: Paris, France

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000

Match timing: Approx. 4 pm CEST, 7.30 pm IST

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

Also check out: The Complete French Open 2020 Schedule 

Novak Djokovic vs Karen Khachanov preview

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic looks to strengthen his bid for an 18th Grand Slam title and second French Open trophy as he takes on No. 15 seed Karen Khachanov in the fourth round on Monday.

Despite all his controversies off the court, Novak Djokovic has been in incredible form on it this year. The 33-year-old has won four titles including the Australian Open during the stop-start 2020 season, with the bizarre disqualification at the US Open last month being his only loss of the year.

Djokovic has carried over his solid form on hardcourts to clay, winning the Rome Masters and progressing comfortably so far at Roland Garros. But his next opponent, Russia's Karen Khachanov, is likely going to be a sterner test than any that the Serb has faced in Paris so far.

Novak Djokovic(L) and Karen Khachanov at the 2018 Paris Masters
Novak Djokovic(L) and Karen Khachanov at the 2018 Paris Masters

Khachanov has largely disappointed following the lockdown, having failed to make it this deep into a tournament since the tour's resumption. After an underwhelming American hardcourt season, the Russian continued to struggle on European clay, making early exits in Rome and Hamburg.

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However, Khachanov has looked more solid with his serve and from the back of the court in Paris, winning his early round matches without too many difficulties. That includes a relatively comfortable - and surprising - third-round victory over No. 20 seed Cristian Garin.

Novak Djokovic vs Karen Khachanov head-to-head

The meeting at Roland Garros will be the fifth between the two players, with Novak Djokovic currently leading the head-to-head 3-1.

The pair met twice in the space of four months before the lockdown, with Djokovic prevailing in straight sets in both the encounters. Khachanov did, however, defeat Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-4 in the final of the Paris Masters in 2018 to win the biggest title of his career.

The pair have never met on clay before.

Novak Djokovic vs Karen Khachanov prediction

Novak Djokovic at the 2020 French Open
Novak Djokovic at the 2020 French Open

Karen Khachanov has always possessed the ability to hit topspin-heavy forehands on clay. But his newfound ability to also hit through the ball, coupled with a massive first serve, make him a particularly tricky opponent in the cold conditions at this year's French Open.

That said, Novak Djokovic looks unstoppable at the moment. His fabled consistency from the baseline has been on full display in Paris so far.

Having remarkably improved his serving over the last few years, the Serb has turned the shot into a weapon even on clay. The 33-year-old is also unlikely to face too many issues redirecting the pace of Khachanov's powerful groundstrokes and taking control of the rallies.

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Khachanov's tendency to have lapses in concentration will also be a huge disadvantage against his machine-like opponent.

Given his blistering form in 2020, it is hard to see anything but a Novak Djokovic win on Monday - no matter what kind of challenge the 24-year-old Khachanov puts up.

Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.


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Published 04 Oct 2020, 16:43 IST
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