Djokovic and Zverev battle through to last 16 at French Open
06 June, 2018, 03:29 | Author: Drew Briggs
Djokovic served for the fourth set at 5-3 - "I thought", Cecchinato would say, "my Roland Garros was about to end" - but the 2016 French Open champion got broken. The pair were evenly matched until Verdasco edged ahead in the ensuing tie-break.
World No. 29 Dzumhur had served for the match in the fourth set, but Zverev clung on and battled to a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 victory.
19th seed Kei Nishikori triumphed in straight sets against Frenchman Gilles Simon by 6-3 6-1 6-3 in nearly half the time of two hours and one minute.
Novak Djokovic strengthened his claims as a French Open contender by reaching the quarter-finals with a straight-set victory over Spain's Fernando Verdasco. "Because if I played just to stay in points, I could never beat Novak".
The matches between David Goffin and Gael Monfils, and Lucas Pouille and Karen Khachanov, were suspended due to poor weather. Stephens beat Keys in the U.S. Open final last September, and their rematch on Thursday will be the first all-American women's semifinal at the French Open since Serena Williams defeated Jennifer Capriati in 2002.
"I won my last match against Dominic Thiem, I think it was in the final of a Future (third tier) tournament", he joked.
The Serbian, who is not committed to any event before The Championships, commented: 'I don't know if I'm going to play on grass.
He had another three set points in the gripping fourth set tiebreaker, the third of which flew into the Paris evening sky off an ugly ballooned forehand.
Thiem, who lost in the semis to Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal a year ago, said he is now better-equipped to go all the way.
He arrived at Roland Garros with a 0-4 mark in the majors, and dropped the first two sets in the first round before coming all the way back to win 10-8 in the fifth.
Djokovic, seeded 20th, won 6-3 6-4 6-2 against 30th seed Verdasco.
"It is the first time in a semi-final in a Grand Slam".
The 12-time grand slam victor was stunned in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros by world No.72 Marco Cecchinato.
While defeat will be painful Djokovic, who has spent 223 weeks as world number one during his career, he will reflect on a positive claycourt season having reached the final in Rome and enjoyed a strong run in Paris before falling short.
"He is one of the fittest guys on the tour so it was hard for him today", said Thiem, the only man to have defeated 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on clay this year.
Djokovic made a slow start in a one-hour opening set, which took longer than the entire match between American Sloane Stephens and Estonia's Anett Kontaveit that had preceded it on Court Philippe Chatrier.
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