The Joker’s Down To Business

Novak Djokovic - French Open
Djokovic's keen to regain his World No.1 ranking by winning his first French Open. Image courtesy of: abc.net.au

It’s the business end of the French Open. All the regular rounds have been completed and it’s time for the quarter-finals. It’s the part of the competition that separates the champions from the pretenders.  World No.2 Novak Djokovic  is set the lead the charge, coming up against World No.8 Milo Raonic .

Djokovic is getting back to his 2011 form. After dropping the World No.1 ranking in 2013, he has struggled to recapture the form which saw him secure four Grand Slams in 2011. At only 27, the Serbian has won six Slams; the Australian Open (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013), Wimbledon (2011) and the US Open (2011). With time on his side, “The Serbinator” can once again become the World No.1, but it has to start now. He has used his size and speed to comfortably make it to the quarters, defeating Joao Sousa (6-1, 6-2, 6-4), Jeremy Chardy (6-1, 6-4, 6-2) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-1, 6-4, 6-1) all in straight sets. His only stumble was his Round 3 defeat of Croatian Marin Cilic (6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4), who took the Serbian to four sets.

It won’t be an easy task though. Djokovic has to beat the Canadian, who is starting to make strides. Milos Raonic has gone from strength to strength over the past year, narrowly missing out on both the Australian Open and US Open quarter-finals last year. Becoming the first Canadian to be ranked inside the Top 10 in the ATP Singles Rankings, he is set for his toughest task to date, facing a red-hot Serbian, who is determined to regain his No.1 ranking. Raonic’s run to the quarters wasn’t quite as comfortable as Djokovic’s, but just as impressive. Despite his five set victory in his Round 3 match against Frenchman Gilles Simon (4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5), the Canadian won all of his other encounters in straight sets, defeating Aussie Nick Kyrgios (6-3, 7-6, 6-3), Jiri Vesely (7-6, 6-4, 6-1) and Marcel Granollers (6-3, 6-3, 6-3).

Class and form indicate Djokovic should win this one easily. But Raonic is also playing great tennis, and if he plays the way he did against Simon, it might just be the Canadian's day.

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