World number 72 Marco Cecchinato of Italy reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros when he stunned former champion Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Italian played the match of his life to upset Djokovic 6-3, 7-6(4), 1-6, 7-6(11) in three hours and 30 minutes to set up a semi-final clash with Austrian Dominic Thiem, who defeated second seed Alexander Zverev of Germany earlier in the day.
Djokovic, who had never lost to a player from Italy at a major before, struggled with a neck injury early in the contest.
Cecchinato started the match well by bossing the points and was rewarded when he claimed the decisive break in the fourth game to eventually serve out the opening set to win it 6-3.
In the second set, the fans witnessed a high-quality battle between the two players, The Italian got the break in the opening game but in the fourth, Djokovic broke back to make it 2-2.
Things proceeded on serve and with Djokovic holding to lead 6-5 and looking to have the edge, Cecchinato somehow saved three set points to eventually hold serve and force the tiebreaker, which he went on to win 7-4 and go two sets up.
The third set began with three consecutive breaks of serve before the Serb ran away with the set to claim it 6-1.
Djokovic started off the fourth by holding serve then claiming his opponents to lead 2-0. The match went with serve until the ninth game when the Italian broke back, then held to make it 5-5, forcing the set to be decided by a tiebreaker.
What followed was an astonishing period of play, with amazing shot-making and excitement.
Djokovic had three set points which were saved by Cecchinato, who also saw three match points vanish.
At 12-11 in the breaker, Cecchinato had a fourth match point with Djokovic’s serve to follow.
The Italian managed to hit a backhand winner past the Serb at the net to win the match and tiebreaker 13-11 and a first-ever grand slam semi-final.
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