PARIS (Reuters) – The last time Novak Djokovic and Pablo Carreno Busta shared a court — in the fourth round of U.S. Open last month — the outcome sent shockwaves around the tennis world.
World number one Djokovic, a hot favourite to lift the title in New York, was disqualified after accidentally striking a female line judge with a ball, while Spaniard Carreno Busta went on reach the semi-finals.
The pair meet again on Wednesday in the French Open quarter-finals.
“Well, it’s another match, no? Another match against the number one in the world,” 17th seed Carreno Busta told reporters.
“I don’t think (the incident) will come into my mind because it is something that normally never happens. I suppose that he’s ready for the fight again.”
Top seed Djokovic, 33, has rebounded remarkably well as he lifted the Italian Open title before winning his first four matches at Roland Garros without dropping a set.
The Serb knows, however, that he cannot afford to be complacent against 29-year-old Carreno Busta, who grew up competing on claycourts across Europe.
“He has very good hands, great return. Puts you under a lot of pressure,” Djokovic said. “He moves very well… obviously, as all the Spanish players, he grew up playing on clay.
“Maybe these conditions also fit him nicely because the ball doesn’t bounce too high, he plays quite flat from both corners. He actually likes slower surfaces.”
Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also in action on Wednesday as he looks to avenge his Hamburg Open final defeat against Russia’s 13th-seeded Andrey Rublev.
In the women’s draw, Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin faces fellow American Danielle Collins, while Germany’s Laura Siegemund makes her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final appearance against twice Wimbledon champion Czech Petra Kvitova.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)