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Ricky’s picks for Day 7 of the French Open, including Djokovic and Fritz

The remaining spots in week two of the French Open will be handed out on Saturday, when Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz are among those taking the court. Djokovic is facing Lorenzo Musetti, while Fritz is going up against Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Here are my previews and picks for those two matchups.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (30) Lorenzo Musetti

Djokovic was a question mark heading into Roland Garros because of a lackluster level of play, but through two rounds it has been smooth sailing for him. The world No. 1 began his fortnight by beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-4 and then eased past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. It will likely get a lot tougher in the third round against Musetti, who trails the head-to-head series 4-1–including 2-1 on clay. They just squared off in Monte-Carlo, where Djokovic got the job done 7-5, 6-3. Their previous matchup in Paris saw the Serb recover from a two-set deficit before getting a retirement from Musetti at 4-0 in the fifth. The Italian’s lone success against Djokovic came via a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 decision last spring in Monte-Carlo.

Like Djokovic, Musetti has not lost a single set so far at the French. The world No. 30 dismissed Daniel Elahi Galan 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 and then broke French fans’ hearts with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Gael Monfils. As poor as Djokovic had previously played this season, he always seems to raise his level at Grand Slams–so far that is exactly what has happened this fortnight. Needless to say, that’s bad news for Musetti.

Pick: Djokovic in 4

(12) Taylor Fritz vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis

This will be the first encounter between Fritz and Kokkinakis in almost six full years, with the head-to-head series all tied up at one win apiece. Both meetings have come on the hard courts of Los Cabos; Kokkinakis prevailed 7-6(5), 6-2 in 2017 before Fritz scored a 7-6(6), 7-6(5) victory in 2018. Kokkinakis often has a flair for the dramatic on court and this event has been no exception. The 100th-rankedAustralian went the distance in each of his first two rounds; 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 over fellow Aussie Alexei Popyrin and 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-2 over Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri.

The story has been much different for Fritz, who needed four mostly routine sets to get past both Federico Coria and Dusan Lajovic. The 12th-ranked American has been red hot on clay this year, highlighted by a runner-up performance in Munich, a semifinal showing in Madrid, and a quarterfinal effort in Rome. Count on Fritz continue his winning ways at the expense of a fatigued opponent.

Pick: Fritz in 3

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.