Home Sports French Open: Novak Djokovic rallies to defeat Francisco Cerundolo in five sets

French Open: Novak Djokovic rallies to defeat Francisco Cerundolo in five sets

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PARIS, FRANCE – June 3: Novak Djokovic of Serbia receives treatment for a leg injury during his match against Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina on Court Philippe-Chatrier during the fourth round of the 2024 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on June 3, 2024. in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

For the second straight match at the French Open, top seed Novak Djokovic lost two sets and rallied in the final two to win. He won his fourth round match over Francisco Cerundolo in five sets: 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Djokovic advances to the quarterfinals to face either No. 7 Casper Ruud or No. 12 Taylor Fritz. In doing so, he surpasses Roger Federer as the man with the most Grand Slam quarterfinals with 59.

Djokovic, the defending French Open champion, faced Ruud in last year’s final and defeated him in three sets. Ruud reached the last two finals of the tournament, while Djokovic won two of the last three titles.

On Monday, the three-time champion won the first set in his fourth-round match against Francisco Cerundolo before losing the next two. That was likely due in large part to an apparent knee injury Djokovic suffered in that first set.

Fans on social media expressed skepticism that Djokovic was truly injured and required a medical timeout, but he lost the next two sets and received treatment throughout the match. He may also have been fatigued from playing until 3 a.m. local time on Saturday against Lorenzo Musetti, which has been a concern expressed among players at this year’s French Open.

However, Djokovic held on and recovered in what became a four-hour, 39-minute match to prevail against Cerundolo’s strong serve, drop shots and returns that sent him all over the court.

A definite visual highlight was Djokovic coming down to return a volley in the fifth set, almost doing the splits as he fell to the floor. He complained early in the match to the referee and called the field staff because the clay court was slippery.

Djokovic thanked the fans in attendance for their support and said they gave him the energy to come back and win.

“I want to thank you because, once again, like in the last match, the victory is for you and with your help,” Djokovic said in French. “In the last match, I was down two sets to one, and in the fourth set, 2-2, you gave me a lot of energy, so, really, thank you. What can I say? I was maybe four points away from losing this. match, but Francisco played with a lot of quality. Well done.”

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