Djokovic Overtakes Federer, Sets Khachanov Clash

Novak Djokovic moved clear of Roger Federer with his 71st Roland Garros victory on Saturday, claiming sole ownership of second place on the wins leaderboard at the clay-court Grand Slam championship.

The World No. 1 cruised past lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 to improve to 71-14 at Stade Roland Garros. Djokovic broke serve on seven occasions and saved all five break points he faced en route to victory.

Most Roland Garros Men’s Singles Wins

Rank Player Roland Garros Win-Loss
1 Rafael Nadal 96-2
2 Novak Djokovic 71-14
3 Roger Federer 70-17
4 Guillermo Vilas 58-17
5 Ivan Lendl 53-12
5 Jaroslav Drobny 53-14

Djokovic showed great sportsmanship throughout the third-round encounter. With rain falling heavily on Galan’s side of the court as the new Court Philippe-Chatrier roof was closing, the Colombian slipped over. Djokovic responded by calling a halt to the match in the fourth game of the second set until conditions were equal for both players.

The 33-year-old even helped the ground staff tasked with adding extra clay to Galan’s end of the court. Djokovic grabbed a brush and helped smooth the surface around the World No. 153’s baseline.

With his 34th win from 35 matches this year, Djokovic equals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s Open Era record of 11 consecutive fourth-round appearances in Paris. Nadal and Federer reached the Round of 16 at this event each year from 2005 to 2015.

Most Consecutive Roland Garros Round Of 16 Appearances (Open Era)

Player Length Of Streak Years
Novak Djokovic 11 2010-2020
Roger Federer 11 2005-2015
Rafael Nadal 11 2005-2015
Ivan Lendl 9 1981-1989
Yannick Noah 9 1980-1988
Guillermo Vilas 9 1975-1983

Djokovic has showcased his best form to reach the second week in Paris. Through his opening three matches, the five-time year-end World No. 1 has dropped just 15 games. Djokovic is riding an eight-match winning streak, following his record 36th ATP Masters 1000 title run at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome last month.

”If you impose yourself from the very beginning on the court, which I have in those first three matches here, then it makes it hard for them to really believe that they can come back and make a turnaround in the match,” said Djokovic.

The Serbian will face Karen Khachanov for a place in the semi-finals. Djokovic owns a 3-1 ATP Head2Head record against the World No. 16, but Khachanov emerged victorious in the pair’s previous encounter in Paris. At the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters, Khachanov stunned Djokovic in the championship match to earn the biggest title of his career.

Djokovic took no time to find his best level against Galan on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The 2016 champion regularly used the drop shot to mix up play — as he has throughout this European clay swing — and dictated rallies with his forehand to win the opening eight games of the match.

Serving at 0-6, 0-2, Galan ripped a cross-court forehand winner to earn his first game of the match. The winning shot was met with applause from the limited number of fans sat courtside, which brought a smile to Galan’s face as he walked to his chair. After the brief rain delay, Djokovic maintained his advantage and broke serve once more at 5-3 with a forehand winner up the line.

After saving two break points to start the third set, Djokovic claimed his sixth service break en route to a 3-0 lead. The Belgrade native closed the match with another break, playing with aggression on his backhand side. Galan committed a cross-court forehand error to end the third-round meeting after two hours and eight minutes.

“You watch videos and you watch him on TV, and… it seems like he’s not playing that fast, like he’s playing heavy, with a lot of spin. But today it was like a rocket, every forehand,” said Galan.

“I was not able to even react. I don’t know. Maybe I was not moving… I felt like he was a rocket every time he was hitting his forehand.”

Karen Khachanov has reached the Round of 16 in each of his four visits to Roland Garros.

Earlier in the day on Court 14, Khachanov ended Cristian Garin’s run with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Round of 16 in Paris for the fourth straight year.

The 16th seed, who owns a 13-3 record at Roland Garros, landed 33 winners and broke serve on eight occasions to hand Garin only his fourth loss in 19 tour-level matches on clay this year. Khachanov will be attempting to equal his best Grand Slam result when he meets Djokovic on Monday. Last year, the 24-year-old reached his first quarter-final at a major championship at this event with a fourth-round victory against Juan Martin del Potro.

“[Against Novak, I will] try to be steady, to try to maintain the level that we will play [for the] most time possible… [I will] keep pushing to try to break the guy if something is going wrong on [my] serve,” said Khachanov.

“You don’t have to be surprised if you lose a few games even if you serve hard or not. A lot of balls are coming back, especially in the current situation. I think the most important thing for me [is] to stay steady, to believe in myself, to believe in the game that I’m playing. At the end of the day, [I need] to enjoy it. [I am] looking forward to a good match.”

Garin was attempting to become the first Chilean man to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam since Fernando Gonzalez’s run to the Round of 16 at the 2010 Australian Open. With a 15-4 clay record in 2020, Garin is in second place on the tour-level clay wins leaderboard this year. Only Buenos Aires champion Casper Ruud owns more victories on the surface this season (17).

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