Rafael Nadal

Djokovic Toppled by Klizan in Barcelona, Doubts for French Open Persist

Novak Djokovic’s preparations for the French Open suffered another setback with defeat in the second round of the Barcelona Open.

The former world number one is attempting to piece his career back together and after returning to work with his old coach Marian Vajda, he showed glimpses of promise at the Monte Carlo Masters.

He remains second favourite for French Open glory behind Rafael Nadal, with 188BET pricing him up at 7.00, but his form heading towards Paris will not hold any terrors for the 10-time Roland Garros champion.

Djokovic took in the Barcelona Open in an attempt to get game time into his legs and tune in to the demands of playing on clay, but Martin Klizan sent him packing in three sets.

After losing the first set in rapid fashion, Djokovic looked on course to win through after producing some excellent tennis in the second set to square the match. However, Klizan found excellence on his serve in the deciding set and it helped him secure a 6-2 1-6 6-3 success.

Klizan is ranked 140 in the world, so it must be classed as a huge upset despite Djokovic’s patchy form in the past 18 months.

The Serbian talked positively last week about returning to form and fitness and was hopeful about his prospects for the rest of the year. So to lose in such fashion will be of huge disappointment to Djokovic and his supporters.

It’s not an event he has much form at, as he was dumped out in the first round of his only previous appearance in 2006, but he would have had hope of making a decent run at the tournament.

Instead, he will have to retreat to the practice courts at his Monte Carlo home and turn his attentions to the two Masters events that lead up to the French Open.

The Mutau Madrid Open is up next, followed by the Internazionali BNL d’ItaliaRome, and the 12-time grand slam champion will have to demonstrate some form in those events if he is to stand any sort of chance in Paris.

While Djokovic is heading back to the drawing board, it was business as usual for Nadal in Barcelona.

Fresh from his win in Monte Carlo, the world number one recovered from dropping the first two games to claim a 6-4 6-4 win over fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

Up next for Nadal is a meeting in the last 16 with Guillermo Garcia Lopez who advanced from the second round following the retirement of Kei Nishikiori.