Novak Djokovic is fighting his way back from two sets in the fourth round of the French Open after being stunned early by 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti as the world number 1 wins 16 of the last 17 games before rivals retire
- Novak Djokovic is in the quarter-finals of the French Open, but has been tested
- Lorenzo Musetti won the first two sets after keeping his nerve in the tie-break
- The number 1 in the world reacted and won the next two sets 6-1 and 6-0 to equalize
- Djokovic was on the verge of victory when Musetti pulled out of the game
Novak Djokovic gave men’s tennis a glimpse into the future before ruthlessly relocating it back to the present.
With two defeats against 19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti, a historical surprise seemed possible, only that the number 1 in the world delivered the most brutal reality check.
It turned out that the young challenger was still far from emulating his fellow youth Coco Gauff, who made it into the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Musetti retired at 6-7, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, 4-0, physically broken from the exertion of two sets in which he demonstrated his precocious, extroverted talent.
Novak Djokovic moved after beating Lorenzo Musetti. into the quarter-finals of the French Open
The Serb had to work for his victory but displayed his trademark to get the victory
Djokovic was transformed after leaving the seat for a lengthy change of clothes after the second set, admitting to changing his underwear and not even trying to disguise it as a toilet break. Musetti will have to get used to something like that.
The 34-year-old Serb wasn’t even concerned, knowing that a major’s game format is forgiving of such hesitant beginnings.
“I like to play young guys in the best of five because even if they use two sentences to love, I still like my chances,” he said.
“I feel physically fit and know how to wear my opponent down. I’ve won most of the five-setters I’ve played in this tournament and in my career. ‘
Musetti’s one-handed backhand had come into its own early in the game
Djokovic is a win away from a date with Rafael Nadal in Friday’s semifinals after the Spaniard defeated another Italian teenager, Jannik Sinner, in straight sets.
Matteo Berrettini, the number 9 and another Italian success story in men’s tennis stands in the way of the Serbs.
Part of their rise is a long-term program of world ranking events on home soil.
The Italian was on the verge of a big surprise after taking the first two sets against Djokovic. had fetched
But then Djokovic only lost four points in the fourth set when he found another gear
Only 17 years old, Gauff managed to beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-1 and is on the rise again after struggling to live up to their early hype. She now faces the Czech Barbora Krejcikova and benefits from ironing out problems with her serve.
“That was obviously a hurdle in my game,” said the American.
“I feel like all of my matches were straightforward, like no crazy three sets and such. I’ve had a lot of these in the past. Today I came in hungry and wanted it more compared to my last times in the fourth round. ‘
Meanwhile, Brit Kyle Edmund has confirmed he won’t be playing at Wimbledon after his knee surgery but is optimistic that he will return for the US Open.
Djokovic meets Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals after Roger Federer’s withdrawal