Novak Djokovic wins in five sets, reaches French Open quarters

League: Tennis

Posted on: 04 Jun, 2024 at 12:43 AM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia overcame a knee injury and a tough fall as he rallied past No. 23 seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, to reach the French Open quarterfinals on Monday in Paris.

With the victory, Djokovic set the record for most Grand Slam wins at 370, surpassing Roger Federer. Djokovic also has the most Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances with 59, a mark he shared with Federer.

Following a four-hour, 29-minute win in his last match, it took Djokovic four hours and 39 minutes to dispose of Cerundolo.

"Three or four times I was points away from losing this match, and thank you to my opponent," Djokovic said. "He deserves so much applause, that's for sure. I'm not sure how I won this match."

In the quarters, Djokovic will face No. 7 seed Casper Ruud of Norway. Ruud defeated No. 12 seed Taylor Fritz 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, eliminating the last remaining American from the men's draw.

In other fourth-round action, No. 11 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia upset fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals. There, he will face No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany, who took down No. 13 Holger Rune of Denmark 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

After easily winning the first set, Djokovic dealt with a knee issue during the third game of the second set. He was shaking his leg and was given medical attention while laying on a towel on the court. The 37-year-old continued to shake his knee out during the next game and was given a brief massage during the next changeover.

"I started feeling the pain (in the second set) and asked for the physio treatment and the medical timeout and tried to take care of it," Djokovic said. "It did disrupt me definitely in play. For two sets, two sets and a half, I didn't want to stay in the rally too long. Every time he would make sudden drop shots or change directions, I would not be feeling comfortable to do the running.

"At one point I didn't know, to be honest, whether I should continue or not with what's happening."

Cerundolo went on to win that set and the next, and was serving up 4-3 in the fourth when Djokovic broke the Argentinian's serve and eventually took a 5-4 lead. Cerundolo evened it at 5-5 and had a break-point opportunity to go up 6-5, but Djokovic won the next three points and broke his opponent again to win the set.

In the decisive fifth set, Djokovic tumbled during the fourth game and was heard yelling at officials.

"Great job by you guys," he said. "You know better than us. It's not slippery at all, not dangerous at all! Well done, supervisor and everyone. Grounds staff, well done."

Djokovic broke Cerundolo's serve twice in the final set en route to the victory. For the match, Djokovic saved 15 of 19 break points, compared to 5 of 11 for Cerundolo, who had more winners (68 to 52) and fewer unforced errors (45 to 46).

Ruud, meanwhile, rallied from a 4-0 hole in his first-set tiebreaker against Fritz, tying it at 5-5 and 6-6 before pulling out two more points for the win. He went on to save 8 of 12 break points and won despite Fritz's advantages in aces (19-11) and total winners (72-56).

Ruud is aiming to reach the French Open final for the third consecutive year after losing there in 2022 and 2023. His quarterfinal match with Djokovic will be a rematch of last year's final.

"I don't expect (Djokovic) to surrender at all. I have to expect him to be fresh, ready and that it's going to be a tough match," Ruud said.

For Zverev, it was his second straight match to go the distance after he needed to win a first-to-10 fifth-set tiebreaker to beat No. 26 Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands in the third round.

In a four-hour, 11-minute match against Rune that went past 1 a.m. local time, Zverev hit 16 aces with just three double faults and had a 61-60 edge in winners, while Rune had 50 unforced errors to his opponent's 39.

de Minaur won 76 percent of his first-serve points and saved 8 of 10 break points. He also notched 51 winners to 27 for Medvedev.

--Field Level Media