Home News French Open 2024: Djokovic shrugs off injury, pips Cerundolo in epic five-setter

French Open 2024: Djokovic shrugs off injury, pips Cerundolo in epic five-setter

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Defending champion Novak Djokovic produced another superhuman effort to subdue Argentine Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Monday and reach the quarterfinal of the French Open, as the top seed shrugged off a knee issue for a milestone win.

The Serb, who is chasing a record-extending 25th Grand Slam title, sealed his 370th match victory at the majors that broke a tie with retired Swiss great Roger Federer but his title rivals will be smelling blood after another up-and-down display.

When the dust settled on his second five-setter in less than 48 hours at Roland Garros, Djokovic celebrated reaching his 59th major quarter-final – the most by any men’s player – to pip his long-time rival Federer again.

“Again a big, big, big thank you because once again like the last match. The win is your win,” an exhausted Djokovic told the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd in fluent French.

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The 37-year-old showed no early signs of fatigue from his marathon third-round win over Lorenzo Musetti, a 4-1/2 hour epic that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, as he blitzed claycourt specialist Cerundolo in the opening set.

He sustained a right knee issue early in the next and needed treatment on court before saving four break points to draw level at 3-3 with a backhand bullet, but allowed his opponent a way back in by surrendering his serve in the 12th game.

Cerundolo grabbed another break early in the next set to go 3-0 up and comfortably got ahead in the clash as alarm bells began to ring for Djokovic in a second straight match at the claycourt Grand Slam he has won three times.

A ball kid came to the aid of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after he slipped and fell during his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

A ball kid came to the aid of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after he slipped and fell during his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.
| Photo Credit:
CHRISTOPHE ENA/ AP

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A ball kid came to the aid of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after he slipped and fell during his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.
| Photo Credit:
CHRISTOPHE ENA/ AP

The finish line seemed to appear in sight for Cerundolo when he raced up 4-2 in the next set, but the 25-year-old squandered the advantage as Djokovic sent down two big serves and produced a spectacular drop en route to holding for 6-5 before levelling the contest.

Having dropped serve after a fast start in the deciding set, Djokovic took a nasty tumble during a point and ranted about the state of the Court Philippe Chatrier surface.

He dusted himself off and the smile returned shortly after as he executed a sensational drop volley while doing the splits at 3-3 and celebrated the point by lying on the court with his arms outstretched in a superhero pose.

With the crowd firmly behind him, Djokovic closed out a superb victory and paid tribute to fans on the main showcourt at around 9 p.m local time.

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