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World No. 1 Djokovic Survives 5-Set Epic To Advance In French Open Match That Ends After 3 AM



World No. 1 Djokovic Survives 5-Set Epic To Advance In French Open Match That Ends After 3 AM

Novak Djokovic stays alive for a twenty fifth Grand Slam title and to retain his world No. 1 rating.

The 37-year-old Serb equaled Roger Federer atop the all-time majors win record at 369 by outlasting No. 30 seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, 7-5, 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Courtroom Philippe Chatrier to advance to the fourth spherical of the French Open. Djokovic, who’s looking for his fourth Roland Garros title, prevailed after 4 hours, 29 minutes.

The match started at simply after 10:30 p.m. native time, two hours later than it was scheduled, and ended at 3:08 a.m. It was the newest ending in Roland Garros historical past and the second longest match of this yr’s French Open.

“The distinction was the group,” Djokovic mentioned on courtroom. “hat’s why I’m talking in French. It’s unbelievable you stayed. There are even a lot of kids who ought to be sleeping. It’s gonna be laborious to get to mattress. My adrenaline is actually going. However now, let’s go to mattress!”

Djokovic — who improved to 36-10 in five-setters at majors — will subsequent face No. 23 Francisco Cerúndolo on Monday night time.

Three years in the past, Djokovic overcame a two-sets-to-love deficit to prevail over Musetti within the fourth spherical when the Italian retired within the fifth et.

Djokovic must a minimum of attain the ultimate to have an opportunity of stopping one other Italian, Jannik Sinner, from ascending to world No. 1 after Roland Garros. Djokovic, the all-time males’s chief with 24 Grand Slam titles, misplaced to eventual champ Sinner within the Australian Open semifinals.

“He’s like LeBron James to me,” John McEnroe mentioned on Peacock of Djokovic. “[James is] 39. [Djokovic] remains to be giving it everythihng. It’s superb to me.”

Twelve of the highest 13 males’s seeds stay alive heading into the spherical of 16.

Extra rain delays stored Djokovic ready within the Roland Garros locker room earlier than the match. He then complained throughout the match in regards to the situation of the clay, asking for extra fixed sweeping of the courtroom.

At instances throughout the center of the match, it appeared that Djokovic may not have the legs or the need to tug it out.

However within the decisive fifth set, Djokovic broke for a 2-0 lead when Musetti hit a contact forehand vast. Each males bent over exhausted after the purpose.

Djokovic seized a 4-0 double break when he hit a deep forehand that Musetti smacked vast after it hit the web.

With Musetti serving at 0-5, 15-40, Djokovic gained it with a crosscourt forehand winner.

With Djokovic struggling in the midst of the match, Musetti took a 4-1 lead within the third set and served it out at 5-2 when Djokovic sailed a forehand volley lengthy on set level.

Within the fourth set, Djokovic broke for a 3-2 lead after which pumped his fist to the group. He earned a double-break for 5-2 after which, after giving one again, tied the match at two units apiece with a forehand volley winner.

Alexander Zverev supplied the early drama on Chatrier because the German No. 4 seed was dragged right into a battle by Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor earlier than prevailing 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (10-3). He was down a double-break within the fifth set.

“I at all times wrestle in opposition to him. I do not prefer to play in opposition to him however all of the credit score to him for taking all of it the best way,” Zverev, who took out 14-time champ Rafael Nadal within the first spherical, mentioned after avoiding what would have been his earliest loss in Paris since a first-round exit in 2017.

“Unbelievable participant and fighter till the tip. The environment right now was unbelievable. I beloved each second of it.”

With Grigor Dimitrov’s match in opposition to Zizou Bergs shifted to the principle showcourt, Djokovic needed to twiddle his thumbs forward of his conflict with Musetti. Dimitrov superior in 4 units and and can subsequent face No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz within the fourth spherical after Hurkacz ousted Canadian Denis Shapovalov in 4 units.

No. 5 Daniil Medvedev obtained previous Tomáš Macháč in 4 units and can subsequent meet No. 11 Alex de Minaur.

Ben Shelton, the American No. 15 seed, completed his match, shedding to No. 21 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. His reward is a match with No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz on Monday afternoon.

On the ladies’s aspect, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka overcame Paula Badosa in a testing conflict between greatest pals, whereas Russian-born Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva gained loads of new admirers after she stored the flag flying for her adopted nation.

(Reuters contributed reporting)

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