WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for a fourth-round clash between Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman.
20:30 (AEST), Sun 29th May @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 6: Djokovic 6 V Schwartzman 0
Last meeting: ATP Finals, 2020 (RR): Djokovic d Schwartzman 6-3 6-2
Final Thoughts: World No.1 Novak Djokovic chases a 13th straight French Open quarter-final berth when he takes on 15th seed Diego Schwartzman.
Djokovic’s title defence has gone off without a hitch so far. He has lost just 23 games in racking up convincing straight-sets wins over Yoshihito Nishioka, Alex Molcan and Aljaz Bedene. The 35-year-old has had his serve broken just twice all tournament, while he offered up Bedene one measly break-point opportunity.
Schwartzman should provide Djokovic with his first decent test. A French Open semi-finalist in 2020, the diminutive Argentine beat Andrey Kuznetsov in four sets first up, fought from two sets down to overwhelm Jaume Munar in five and crushed in-form 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 6-1 6-2.
Schwartzman has the massive psychological hurdle of an 0-6 record against Djokovic to overcome. He did take the all-time great to five sets at the 2017 French Open. But the last three clashes – at the Australian Open, Rome Masters and ATP Finals, all in 2020 – were straight-set victories to Djokovic.
At his best – which we came close to seeing against Dimitrov – the 29-year-old is capable of putting some pressure on Djokovic. But the title favourite has been near-perfect so far in Paris; it will take something truly elite to see Novak even drop a set at this stage.
With a quarter-final barnburner against Rafael Nadal looming, don’t expect to see Djokovic take his foot off the gas.