The top seed at this year’s French Open will come across a player seeded 19 places below him in the draw when Novak Djokovic steps out on court to face Richard Gasquet for a spot in the quarter-final round of the tournament. Novak leads the overall head-to-head 10-1 and has won eight consecutive matches against Gasquet, dating back to 2010.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic stepped out on court on Saturday to challenge one of the tour’s rising star in Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis, who gave the Serb a tough, competitive fight for the entire duration of their match. While Djokovic won the match in straight sets, it was a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 scoreline and he was not shy to congratulate Kokkinakis on his efforts thereafter.
“I think that tennis needs players like Thanasi, who is a teenager, but still able to come out on centre court and play with courage and play with power and believe in himself,” said Djokovic following a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kokkinakis. “He’s one of this group of three, four young players that are starting to be more and more consistent and make a couple of big wins in their careers and that are obviously expected to do very well from the tennis world.”
In a slightly more difficult meeting earlier in the day, Richard Gasquet was forced to rally from a set down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4. He withstood 22 aces, struck 44 winners and converted two break points to earn the win.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Gasquet 10-1 and has not lost to the Frenchman in eight consecutive matches spanning over four years. Gasquet has not taken a set off the Serbian no. 1 since his last win over him in 2007, when the Tour Finals was hosted in Shanghai. It is hard to imagine Richard having much luck against Djokovic,. In all cases, this should be a quick straight sets victory for Djokovic but it is not impossible for Gasquet to stretch it a fourth set.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets