French Open 2020: Djokovic matches Nadal – Serbian star's most dominant start at Roland Garros

Oleh Dejan Kalinic 4 Oktober 2020 272
French Open 2020: Djokovic matches Nadal – Serbian star's most dominant start at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic's stellar year has rolled into the French Open, where he has made the most dominant start of his career.

The world number one crushed Daniel Elahi Galan at Roland Garros on Saturday to ease into the fourth round.

Djokovic is now 34-1 in 2020, and that loss came when he defaulted after hitting a linesperson with a ball in a fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta at the US Open last month.

The Serbian faces a bigger test in the fourth round in Paris, where Russian 15th seed Karen Khachanov awaits.

Djokovic is aiming for history at the French Open as he bids to become the first man in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam twice.

And he has made an imposing start.

Djokovic showing hard-court dominance on clay

Through three rounds, Djokovic has dropped just 15 games at the French Open.

He has dispatched of Mikael Ymer, Ricardas Berankis and Galan to cruise through the first week.

The 15 games lost is comfortably the most dominant Djokovic has been through the opening three rounds at the tournament. His previous best was 23 in 2012, when he made the final before losing to Rafael Nadal.

It is just the third time in his illustrious career that Djokovic has dropped 15 or fewer games through three rounds – when every match has been completed to that point – at any major. It follows the 2012 Australian Open, when he lost just 10, and the US Open (14) later that year. Djokovic won the title in Melbourne in 2012, but fell to Andy Murray in the final at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic has won 11 of his 17 majors on hard courts, but his dominance at this year's French Open has so far been similar.

Compared to the king

Incredibly, Djokovic's start matches Nadal's best at Roland Garros, where the Spaniard is the undisputed king.

Nadal has won 12 French Open titles in 15 appearances, but only once has he started the way Djokovic has in 2020. That came in 2017, when he also dropped 15 games through three rounds on his way to a 10th French Open crown.

The Spanish great destroyed Benoit Paire, Robin Haase and Nikoloz Basilashvili to begin the tournament three years ago. He won that title losing no more than four games in a set, including thrashing Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and Stan Wawrinka in the decider.

The 19-time grand slam champion is bidding to equal Roger Federer for the most majors won by a man, and he will always take some stopping in Paris.

Nadal has lost 19 games through three rounds this year, but that is his best start at the tournament since 2017. Lacking match practice amid the coronavirus pandemic, he is looking dangerous yet againi.

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Dejan Kalinic