Novak Djokovic will enter the upcoming Roland Garros with eight matches on clay this spring. Novak did not play well in Monte Carlo, Banja Luka and Rome, failing to reach the semi-final and still dealing with an elbow issue.
Djokovic’s most recent setback came in the Rome Masters quarter-final, losing to Holger Rune and gathering dark clouds over his Roland Garros campaign. However, Novak is confident about his chances in Paris, saying beating him in the best-of-five encounters is always challenging.
The Serb will work on his game and physical shape in the upcoming days and try to travel to Paris fully prepared to chase his 23rd Major title. Novak needed painkillers against Holger in Rome, giving his best but experiencing a 6-2, 4-6 , 6-2 loss in two hours and 19 minutes.
Rune lost serve two times and delivered five breaks to make the difference. Djokovic grabbed the second set after a rain delay, and the young gun made a fresh start in the decider to advance into the semi-final. Holger served at only 30% in the opening set, but no one could notice that.
He defended two break points in the only troubled service game and stole Novak’s serve two times for a massive advantage. Rune attacked in the encounter’s first game and grabbed a break with a backhand down the line winner.
Novak Djokovic will try to find his A-game at Roland Garros.
He saved those two break points in the second game to confirm the lead. Djokovic sprayed a forehand error in the fifth game to experience another break and fall 4-1 behind..
The Serb saved a set point on serve in game seven to prolong the action before the Dane held with a service winner in the next one for 6-2 in 38 minutes. Novak raised his level in the second set. He broke from 40-15 down in the sixth game to move 4-2 up and build the advantage.
Djokovic served for the set at 5-3 and sprayed a forehand error to get broken and keep Rune in contention. The Serb won the opening two points on the return in game ten before the rain sent them off the court. They returned an hour later , and Novak broke at love with a forehand winner to force a decider, eager to fight until the end.
Holger made a fresh start and grabbed a break in the opening game. Not feeling at his best and spraying too many mistakes, Djokovic experienced another break in the third game to fall 3-0 behind and seal his fate. Rune held after deuce in the The fourth game after forcing the rival’s error to extend the gap.
Novak prolonged the match after deuce in game seven and drew Holger’s loose backhand in the next one for a break point. Rune denied it with a forced error and earned a match point with a service winner. Novak sprayed a forehand error to propel the opponent over the top.
“I do not need more matches ahead of Roland Garros. I must train and prepare for the season’s most important clay event. I know I can play better, and I must work on specific aspects of my game and body to return to 100%; the goal.
I always like my chances at Majors in the best-of-five matches against anyone on any surface, and we will see how it goes,” Novak Djokovic said.