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When Marco Cecchinato knocked out Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros

Struggling with an elbow injury, Novak Djokovic played just 12 games between Wimbledon in 2017 and Rome in 2018. After a slow start to the 2018 season, Djokovic reached the Rome Masters semi-final and hoped for more at Roland Garros.

Novak scored four wins to advance to the quarter-finals in Paris, and he was the favorite against world number 72 Marco Cecchinato. Marco won 12 ATP victories before Roland Garros and none at the Majors.

Still, that was no obstacle for him, as he advanced to the last eight and upset Novak 6-3, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6 in three hours and 26 minutes for a spot. in the semi-finals. Marco became the lowest-ranked semi-finalist in Paris since Andrei Medvedev in 1999, playing at a high level in crucial moments and overcoming a deficit in the fourth set to avoid a tiebreak.

Novak restored order in the third set and built a 5-2 advantage in the fourth. Still, he failed to bring it home and force the deciding point, where he would have been the favourite.

Djokovic grabbed six breaks and scored four points more than his rival thanks to this third set. It wasn’t enough to keep him safe, however, getting broken four times and dropping both tie breaks to hit the exit door.

The Italian defended 11 from 17 break points and repelled three set points in the fourth-set tie-break to emerge on top and start a massive celebration.

Cecchinato produced 54 game winners and 41 unforced errors, taming his shots well and mixing up his game with flat shots, drop shots and slices that kept Novak out of his comfort zone.

Marco got off to a good start and fell just five points behind on the opening shot of game one. Novak defended two break chances in game two of the encounter before giving up his serve in game four to take a down 3-1.

Cecchinato served well in the remaining games and won the first at 6-3 with a powerful serve after just 34 minutes. Djokovic received a neck massage before the second set and found a way to be more competitive.

Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros 2018:

Marco Cecchinato beat Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros 2018. Cecchinato opened a 2-0 gap before Djokovic pulled back to zero in game four for a boost.

The Serb defended two break chances in the seventh game to stay on the positive side before creating three set points on the return at 6-5. The Italian fended them off with brave shots and opened a 5-4 gap in the tiebreak after a bunt winner.

Marco clinched the breaker at 7-5 after a service winner to open a huge two-set advantage after an hour and 39 minutes. Without any room for error, Djokovic raised his level in the third set and claimed it at 6-1 to extend the battle.

The Serb received a medical timeout on his right leg before the fourth set and built a 3-0 advantage after just eight minutes. Novak dropped just three points in the first four service games and took a 5-2 lead thanks to an early break.

Standing on the verge of losing the set, Marco fell 30-0 down to 3-5 when Novak served for the set, forehanding the winning line and collecting a boost. Djokovic saved a break point after a prolonged rally in game eleven and Cecchinato held at 15 in the next to introduce a tie break.

Marco opened up a 3-0 lead with a forehand winner down the line before Novak grabbed the next four points to close the deficit and move ahead. The Italian pulled back a mini-break in the eighth point for a 4-all before the Serb locked the result at 5-all with a routine net winner.

Cecchinato got match point at 6-5, and Djokovic saved it with a superb volley to knock the crowd out of their seats. Novak landed another volley winner for a 7-6 lead, and he squandered a set point with a loose backhand.

Djokovic’s second set point came and went at 8-7 after Cecchinato’s forehand volley winner, and the Italian defended the third at 8-9 after the Serb’s terrible forehand.

Novak Djokovic saved the second match point at 9-10 with a forehand on the winning line and the third at 10-11. Djokovic sent a forehand wide on the 23rd point, and Cecchinato converted his fourth match point at 12-11 after a backhand return winner.

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