DJOKOVIC SUFFERS SHOCK LOSS AT ROLAND GARROS QUARTER FINALS
ITALIAN Marco Cecchinato ended Novak Djokovic’s race at the French Open in sensational style.
Cecchinato, who less than two years ago was under a cloud of match-fixing accusations, beat 2016 champion Djokovic 6-3 7-6 1-6 7-6 in an absolutely fabulous match.
The world No 72 said: “Maybe I’m sleeping. It’s amazing, It’s unbelievable for me to beat Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final at Roland Garros.
“I played an unbelievable match. I started very well with my serve. I don’t understand nothing. I was so tired but I won the match.”
In July 2016, Cecchinato was given an 18-month ban for corruption, but it was reduced to 12 months on a first appeal and then his conviction was overturned at a second.
Now he is the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for 40 years and the lowest ranked player to reach the last four of any Slam since 2008.
And all this without ever having won a main-draw match at a Major.
It really was the performance of a lifetime in a match with everything: warnings, injuries and, most importantly, brilliant dramatic tennis.
It was sport at its absolute best and Djokovic played his full part.
Cecchinato was brilliant in opening up a set and a break lead over the 12-time Slam winner, and courageous in claiming the second set tiebreak.
The match seemed to be slipping away from him when Djokovic rolled him over in the third set and had chances to take the fourth by the same 6-1 margin.
But Cecchinato managed to re-focus and broke the Serb as he served for the set at 5-3.
The fourth-set tiebreak was an absolute classic in itself. Djokovic had three set points and Cecchinato had three match points before the former world No 1 left a looping backhand return.
It dropped in and Cecchinato fell to the clay in ecstasy.
Djokovic ever the sportsman congratulated his victor ” He deserved to win, he played an amazing game”