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French Open 2024: Djokovic provides shot of the day as he survives Cerundolo scare (WATCH)

Novak Djokovic staged a thrilling comeback against Francisco Cerundolo, battling through a knee injury to secure his place in the French Open quarter-finals after a dramatic five-set victory.

Tennis French Open 2024: Djokovic provides shot of the day as he survives Cerundolo scare (WATCH) osf
First Published Jun 4, 2024, 12:24 PM IST

Novak Djokovic staged a remarkable comeback from being two sets to one down and battled through a knee injury to overcome Francisco Cerundolo, securing his place in the French Open quarter-finals. The world No. 1 had to dig deep for the second match in a row following his marathon encounter against Lorenzo Musetti in the previous round. However, true to his resilience, Djokovic found a way to win, eventually prevailing 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a grueling match lasting four hours and 39 minutes.

This was their first-ever meeting, and Cerundolo will regret missing out on a golden opportunity to claim a major scalp and reach his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final. In contrast, Djokovic advances to the last eight of a major for the 59th time and continues his quest for a fourth French Open title, facing either Taylor Fritz or Casper Ruud next.

Concerns over Djokovic's fitness arose after his late-night victory over Musetti, finishing at 3:07 am local time, but he quickly dispelled any doubts. Although they split the opening two sets, Djokovic dominated the first set by reeling off five consecutive games after Cerundolo held for a 2-1 lead. However, the match took a dramatic turn shortly afterward.

After Cerundolo held serve to lead 2-1 in the second set, Djokovic appeared to suffer a knee injury, summoning the trainer and later the doctor at the changeover to manage his condition. Sensing an opportunity, the Argentine outsider applied relentless pressure, eventually securing a crucial break to win the second set 7-5 and level the match.

As Djokovic continued to struggle physically, Cerundolo's confidence grew. He surged to a 3-0 lead in the third set and maintained his composure, moving within a set of a historic victory when Djokovic netted a forehand return. A break in the fifth game of the fourth set further bolstered Cerundolo's position, but Djokovic's unparalleled survival instincts kicked in.

Summoning his best tennis under pressure, Djokovic won five of the next six games from 2-4 down to force a decisive fifth set and add another come-from-behind victory to his illustrious career. Cerundolo fought admirably, but Djokovic turned the tide when he broke from 40-0 down to go up 5-3 before serving out the match to book his spot in the 18th French Open quarter-final of his career.

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