Novak Djokovic’s path to French Open final: World number 1 to face Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz on his way to title

Novak Djokovic is looking to defend his title at Roland-Garros, and this is the expected list of opponents he will face on his way.

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic has regained his form ahead of the French Open with a thunderous win in the Italian Open. He won the tournament without dropping a single set. He even bageled Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final to win the title. Djokovic looked better and better with every match he played on the clay.

He lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the Mutua Madrid Open, but he gave his best performance there, and his level has only increased since. Djokovic is back at his best, and, with a perfectly timed break of a week after a tournament win, things are falling into place for the world number 1 to defend his title at Roland-Garros. Djokovic also completed a milestone of 1000 wins on the ATP tour matches. The draw for the French Open is revealed, and Djokovic has his opponents revealed who will be in the way of Djokovic’s 21st Grand Slam and a title defense in France.

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Novak Djokovic’s opponents for the French Open defense.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round of his title defense campaign. Ranked 98 in the world, Nishioka shouldn’t be a problem for the world number 1 in a good rhythm. The second-round opponent could be Federico Coria or Alex Molcan. Both of the players have shown great form recently, but even they wouldn’t be able to pose many problems to Djokovic given the 5-set nature of the Grand Slam.

The third-round opponent for Djokovic is predicted to be Jenson Brooksby, a rising star from the United States but given Brooksby’s form and Djokovic’s domination in the Italian Open, it would be a piece of cake for him. Djokovic might face Diego Schwartzman or Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round and will all the danger Schwartzman/Dimitrov poses on the clay; they would still not be able to take the world number 1 down though this round might pull Djokovic in a long duel.

Djokovic’s toughest match will be the quarterfinals of the French Open, where he might face Rafael Nadal. If Nadal is in great shape and has no problem with foot pain, the match is expected to be completely ballistic. Though Novak Djokovic currently looks like a favorite in the match, based on both his and Rafa’s condition.

Novak might face the big-serving German Alexander Zverev in the semifinal, and if Djokovic can pass the Rafa test, he should be able to swat away Zverev. There are a lot of problems that Zverev will need to work on, especially his ferocious serve, if he wants to be competitive against the world’s number 1.

There might be Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, or even Andrey Rublev for the final hurdle. Though Medvedev is far from his best after returning from surgery and an early exit in Geneva Open, he would still look to perform well at Roland-Garros. If he reaches the final in Phillipe-Chartier, he will look to upset Djokovic, which is easier said than done. For Tsitsipas, he would be fuming for revenge for his losses in previous Roland-Garros and the Italian Open 2022; he would still be able to hold his game and his mental fortitude to defeat Djokovic. Andrey Rublev has recently defeated Djokovic in the Serbia Open final, but with Djokovic hitting top form, it would be difficult for him to replicate the same.

Prediction: Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his title if he manages to take down Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

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