Novak Djokovic fights back from two sets behind in the fourth round of the French Open to make progress
Novak Djokovic fights back from two sets behind in the fourth round of the French Open after being stunned early on by 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti as the world No. 1 win 16 of the last 17 games before rival retires
- Novak Djokovic is through to French Open quarter-finals but was tested
- Lorenzo Musetti won the first two sets after having guts in tie-breaks
- The world’s number 1 reacted and won the next two sets 6-1 6-0 to level it up
- Djokovic was about to win when Musetti withdrew from the match
- Watch the French Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport app
Novak Djokovic allowed men’s tennis a glimpse of the future before relentlessly returning it to its current state.
In two sets against 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti, a historic disruption seemed possible, only for the world number 1 who delivered the most brutal reality check.
As it turned out, the young challenger was still a world away from matching fellow teen Coco Gauff, who reached the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Musetti stopped 6-7, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, 4-0, physically broken by the effort of two sets showing his precocious, outgoing talent.
Novak Djokovic reached the quarterfinals of the French Open after beating Lorenzo Musetti
The Serb was forced to work for his win, but showed his signature grit to take home the win
Djokovic was transformed after going off the field after the second set for a lengthy change of clothes, which he admitted changed his underwear, not even trying to disguise as a toilet break. Musetti will have to get used to this sort of thing.
The 34-year-old Serb wasn’t worried, knowing that a major’s playing format is so forgiving of hesitant starts.
“I like playing young guys in the best-of-five because even if they lead two sets to love, I still love my chances,” he said.
“I feel like I’m physically fit and I know how to exhaust my opponent. I’ve won most of the five-setters I’ve played in this tournament and in my career.”
Musetti’s one-handed backhand was on full display as he shone in the early parts of the match
Djokovic is one win away from dating Rafael Nadal in Friday’s semi-final after the Spaniard knocked out another Italian teenager, Jannik Sinner, in straight sets.
Standing in the way of the Serb is Matteo Berrettini, the number 9 seed and another of the other Italian success stories in men’s tennis.
A multi-year program of world ranking events on home soil is partly behind their rise.
The Italian was on the brink of a massive upset after taking the first two sets against Djokovic
But then Djokovic lost just four points in the fourth set when he found another gear
Gauff, only just 17, had made quick work of beating Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-1 and is on the rise again after struggling to live up to her early hype. She now faces Czech Barbora Krejcikova and benefits from ironing out problems with her serve.
“Obviously that’s been a hurdle in my game,” said the American.
“I feel like all my matches were straight forward, no crazy three sets and stuff. I’ve had a lot of it in the past. Today I came in hungry and wanted it more than my last times in the fourth round.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Kyle Edmund has confirmed he will not play at Wimbledon after his knee surgery, but is optimistic he will return for the US Open.
Djokovic takes on Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals after Roger Federer’s withdrawal