Paris — For more than two hours in two sets at the French Open on Monday, Novak Djokovic was defeated by his 19-year-old Italian opponent who made his Grand Slam debut.
Still, to hear Djokovic speak it later, he had a child where he wanted. It turned out to be true.
Rafael Nadal also played against a 19-year-old Italian in the fourth round. Also, it took some time to get started. Nadal’s trouble lasted less than 45 minutes in eight games on Monday, but he took control and achieved 35 consecutive sets of Roland Garros, the 15th record-breaking clay court major tournament with Djokovic. Reached the quarterfinals.
After dropping a tiebreaker pair, Djokovic suddenly turned from a big deficit to his best tennis. He played 13 games in a row before Lorenzo Musetti stopped playing due to back pain and cramps. However, he dragged 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0.
Topseed Djokovic said, “Even if they lead one or two sets as they do now, I still like my chances.” He, 34, said, “I’m feeling sick.” I feel in order and I know how to bring my opponent down. “
Nadal, who turned 35 last week, was an early lead 5-3 over 18th-seeded Jannik Sinner, who served the first set 5-4.
However, 13-time French Open champion Nadal played eight games in a row, and after a short break in the second set, resumed great play, further winning 7-5, 6-3 and 6-0. I left it in 8 games.
“He played better. That’s all I want to say,” Sinner summed up.
The only thing that bothered Nadal: he complained to the chair referee that he shouldn’t turn on artificial lighting in the stadium when there was still sunlight.
“They blame the television,” Nadal said. “But my answer was that I had a TV here before the lights came on. I watched a lot of games here. And from the TV, the image quality was great even without the lights. . “
Thinner and Musetti were scheduled to practice together before the match at Court Philippe-Chatrie on Monday morning. But Sinner said his coach, Riccardo Piatti, who coached Djokovic a few years ago, messed up the timing.
A talented Italian, Musetti is good at one-handed backhand and tremendous touch at first, but is little accustomed to this best-of-five-set format in majors. He took a medical time-out for the fourth time.
“It didn’t make sense to keep playing. I couldn’t get points or stay in the rally. It was hard to move,” Musetti said. “It was already the limit”
Djokovic finished 9-9 with a break point chance and the winner won 53-30.
How shocking was it to see Musetti take two sets with Djokovic, who is aiming for his second French Open and 19th Grand Slam victory?
“For me too,” Musetti admitted, “it was a little surprising.”
Top-seeded Djokovic has never beat a player in Roland Garros as low as 76th Musetti. Djokovic lost to his teens at the French Open in 2006 when he returned to a man named Nadal. And Djokovic greeted the fourth round 14-0 there.
In addition, consider Djokovic’s recent form. He had 10-0 Grand Slam matches in 2021 and no more than four matches in any set in Paris, not to mention one set, but by Monday he had dropped a total of 23 matches. It was.
In the end, Djokovic made his fifth comeback from two setdowns by limiting mistakes and making Musetti look like him.
Djokovic’s 49th major quarter-final will face another Italian, No. 9 seed Matteo Berrettini, who advanced without a racket on Monday.
Berrettini’s man, Roger Federer, is heading to Wimbledon on June 28 to restore his surgically repaired right knee and the rest of his 39-year-old body on Sunday. Withdrew to.
Just as Nadal vs. Sinner was a rematch in Paris last year, Sinner also played in the first set and lost three times afterwards. Nadal again with 10th seed Diego Schwartzman in the 2020 semifinals. Play against each other.
Schwartzman saved seven setpoints in the first set on Monday, beating Jan Leonard Struff 7-6 (9), 6-4, 7-5.
Previously, 17-year-old American Coco Gauff overwhelmed 25th-seeded Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-1 to become the youngest player since 2006 to advance to the women’s quarterfinals in the slam. .. Gauff will face Barbora Kletikova, who won the 2017 US Open and the 2018 French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-0.
The next quarter-final will face Maria Sakkari and defending champion Iga Swiatek. Sakkari defeated 2020 runner-up Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-3.
8th place Swiatek, who became the most seeded player in the women’s draw, defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-3 6-4 to win 22 consecutive sets against Roland Garros.
Gauff, Krejčkova and Sakkari are three of the six women who made their Grand Slam quarter-final debut, the most of any major in the professional era.
Djokovic’s two-handed backhand, his best shot was off in the afternoon when the sun began to shine and before the clouds intervened. dangerous.
By the second game of the third set, he had already accumulated two dozen unforced errors in that wing alone.
Djokovic was usually good at tiebreakers, but he didn’t make any errors in the three tiebreakers against Federer in the 2019 Wimbledon final, but Musetti was on target and under pressure. It was very good in a costly, betting environment. Musetti is currently 10-0 in a tour-level tiebreaker in his early career.
But then Djokovic took over.
“I didn’t think I won. It’s definitely not,” Musetti said. “A match against a champion like Djokovic can really win only the last time he shakes hands.”