Novak Djokovic makes ‘STUNNING comeback’ against Francisco Cerundolo

June 4, 2024
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Novak Djokovic fought back from defeat at the French Open, defeating Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in Paris.

Novak Djokovic makes 'STUNNING comeback' against Francisco Cerundolo

Cerundolo, the 23rd seed, led 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, and 4-2, but Djokovic rose to the occasion once more, winning 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Novak Djokovic, the world number one who was chasing his 25th Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros, brushed past his opponent in the first set, building on his impressive apparent return to form in the previous round.

He began to suffer halfway through the second after appearing to injure the inside of his right knee. He protested to the umpire that there was too much clay on the court, implying that it had contributed to the injury.

After his early Sunday morning victory over Italian 30th seed Lorenzo Musetti—which concluded at 3.06am, the latest finish of the tournament—he made a similar appeal.

The match then entered a state of stasis. Djokovic was plainly hampered by his knee injury and, most likely, the unusually late finish, struggling to walk correctly and unable to do much more than lengthen rallies from the middle of the court.

Djokovic completes an incredible comeback to defeat Cerundolo

Cerundolo was an obedient opponent despite failing to capitalize on 10 break points mainly due to errors on easy balls, possibly due to nerves or amazement at seeing such a feeble version of the player many consider to be the greatest men’s player in history. In the twelfth game, he finally found his rhythm, breaking twice in two points to take the set 7–5.

Cerundolo then settled down, and Djokovic, unlike against Musetti, who was down and out, failed to awaken himself. The Argentine won the next set, 6-3, then broke Djokovic in the sixth game of the fourth set.

That appeared to be it — to anyone who hadn’t seen Djokovic in the last 15 years. After breaking again to 4-4 and saving a break point at 5-5, he used Cerundolo’s tactic against him, breaking again in the 12th game to tie the match.

Cerundolo did not wilt as Musetti did in the early hours of Sunday. After falling behind 2-0 in the final set, he broke back to tie the match at 2-2.

The Argentine made a fist of it, but Djokovic showed his expertise at 3-4, taking a 5-3 lead and serving out to advance.

If Djokovic had lost, he would still be without a trophy in 2024, and he would have lost his world number one ranking to Italy’s Jannik Sinner when the rankings are revised next Monday, June 10. Sinner can still overtake him if the world number two makes it to the final in Paris, regardless of how far Djokovic progresses.

He will face either Taylor Fritz or Casper Ruud, the 12th and 7th seeds, in the quarterfinals.

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