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Djokovic unsure about the rest of the French Open after record victory

An injured Novak Djokovic sealed a 15th consecutive French Open quarter-final with a thrilling comeback win over Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in the fourth round on Monday, while Daniil Medvedev became the top seed to crash out of Roland Garros so far.

In the women’s draw, both Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina comfortably reached the last eight.

A limping Djokovic appeared to be heading for a shock defeat when he trailed 2-1 in sets and 4-2 in the fourth set, but fought back from the edge to surprise the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd by winning 6- 1, 5-7 to win. , 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 after four hours and 39 minutes.

“I was maybe three or four points away from losing this match,” said the reigning champion. “I’m not sure how I won this match.”

Djokovic narrowly avoided his first exit from the tournament since 2009, playing a rematch of last year’s final against Casper Ruud, who defeated Taylor Fritz in four sets.

However, he said he was not yet 100 percent sure he would be fit enough to play on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or after tomorrow if I can get on the field and play. I hope so. Let’s see what happens,” he said, before blaming the right knee injury he suffered. unusually smooth tracks.

“Could this injury have been prevented? Possibly,” added Djokovic, who said he asked for a more frequently swept court.

Djokovic had reached the last 16 by beating Italian Lorenzo Musetti in another thrilling five-set encounter that ended at 3.07am on Sunday.

The 24-time Grand Slam title winner appeared to suffer no ill effects as he dominated the first set, but needed a medical timeout early in the second set after being forced to retire with an apparent knee injury.

The 37-year-old, who was looking for a record 370th Grand Slam match victory to break out of a tie with Roger Federer, played on but continued to move gingerly between the points.

Cerundolo took the second set by finally grabbing a break point after twelve previous misses.

The 23rd seed moved two sets to one against an increasingly frustrated top seed, before being on the verge of a famous victory by leading 4–2 in the fourth.

But seemingly out of nowhere, Djokovic dug deep to break and equalize at 4-4.

He forced a decider on his fourth set point of a dramatic twelfth match, when a stretching Cerundolo could only find the net.

There seemed to be only one outcome at stake when the Serbian star took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, but his opponent rallied to level.

Djokovic was left covered in clay after a nasty fall and said sarcastically: “Well done supervisors, ground staff, everyone, the track is not slippery at all.”

But there was no denying him, grabbing the decisive break with a blistering forehand that clipped the back of the baseline.

A dramatic victory and yet another quarter-final appearance was secured on his first match point when a Cerundolo backhand was dealt by the chair umpire after initially being ruled.

De Minaur beats Medvedev

Fifth seed Medvedev suffered a four-set defeat to Australian Alex de Minaur. He started strong before sliding to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 defeat.

De Minaur will face Alexander Zverev or Holger Rune, who meet in the night session, in his second Slam quarter-final and first since the 2020 US Open.

Medvedev’s best performance at the French Open remains a quarter-final finish in 2021, while he has also lost in the first round in five of his eight appearances.

“Alex played better,” admitted Medvedev, a former US Open champion and six-time Grand Slam finalist.

De Minaur had never advanced beyond the second round of the tournament this year and won only three of the ten matches.

Walk to Sabalenka

In the women’s tournament, world number two Sabalenka, who was a semi-finalist in 2023 and has reached at least the last four in her past six Grand Slams, proved far too strong for American 22nd seed Emma Navarro.

The Belarusian raced into the quarter-finals, scoring 36 winners during a 6-2, 6-3 success in just 69 minutes.

“I am super happy that I have been able to bring this consistency to the Grand Slams,” said the two-time Australian Open champion.

Sabalenka, who lost to Iga Swiatek in the finals of the Madrid Open and Rome Open this clay season, will play 17-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in the last eight.

Andreeva became the youngest women’s French Open quarterfinalist since 2005 with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Russian-born French player Varvara Gracheva.

“When they shouted ‘Varvara, Varvara, Varvara’ I imagined them shouting my name and it really helped,” Andreeva said.

Former Wimbledon champion Rybakina, the fourth seed, defeated Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3, also in just 69 minutes, and will next face Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.

(AFP)

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