Dimitrov dumped out of French Open by Verdasco

Tyler Owen
June 6, 2018

Marco Cecchinato, a 25-year-old Italian ranked No. 72 who had not won a Grand Slam singles match until arriving at the French Open this year, is now in the semifinals after upsetting Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11), on Tuesday.

Seventh seed Dominic Thiem muscled his way into the fourth round of the French Open, putting out Italian claycourt specialist Marco Berrettini 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-2 to set up a tie with Nishikori.

Thiem, who lost in the semis to Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal a year ago, said he is now better-equipped to go all the way.

But after his defeat in a French Open quarterfinal on Tuesday, Djokovic was distraught-and unclear about where and when he would play next. At 8-7, Cecchinato ended a 20-stroke exchange with a swinging volley victor.

He wasn't the only one to let his anger out on the poor racket. My heart was beating 1,000 miles per hour. Cecchinato won on his fourth match point by hitting a backhand victor down the line as Djokovic tried to serve and volley.

Cecchinato fell on his back and cried before regaining his chair with his red eyes full of tears.

The Bulgarian, a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has still never reached the second week at Roland Garros in eight attempts.

A year later, Cecchinato was suspended for 18 months and fined €40,000 by the Italian tennis federation for illegal behaviour.

He has declined to discuss the case in Paris. As the score indicates, that was far less compelling, in part because Zverev felt pain in his left hamstring 10 minutes into the match and wound up having his leg taped by a trainer. "Obviously it's tough when you lose a match, but that's how it goes".

"He is one of the fittest guys on the tour so it was hard for him today", said Thiem, the only man to have defeated 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on clay this year.

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"For me, it's the first time semi-final grand slam".

"To be able to win that first set and get ahead was crucial".

Cecchinato opened up a 6-5 lead for his first match point. Cecchinato held on, played some exquisite line shots and at the end, as Djokovic raced close to the net, the Italian lobbed the ball from his backhand towards the baseline and re-wrote history.

Cecchinato and Djokovic know each other well: They have practiced together in Monte Carlo, where Cecchinato trains at a tennis academy and Djokovic has a home.

Djokovic, Cecchinato said, "seemed unsure of himself at the beginning".

Djokovic made a slow start in a one-hour opening set, which took longer than the entire match between American Sloane Stephens and Estonia's Anett Kontaveit that had preceded it on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic actually won more total points, 144-140.

"I had to push".

"I definitely need to take some time off now to kind of reassess the whole clay-court season, to be honest", said Dimitrov.

'I just came from the court.

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