Marco Cecchinato became the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 40 years after defeating former champion Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6(4) 1-6 7-6(11) at the French Open on Tuesday.
Cecchinato appeared to be cruising as he built a two-set lead with Djokovic battling neck pain. Djokovic, a 12-times major winner, fought back in typical fashion to win the third set but his determined opponent was not done.
"He deserved to win. I know him well. He's a great guy."— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 5, 2018
Hear from Novak Djokovic on his loss to Cecchinato and what it means for the rest of his season --> https://t.co/TPV99AGAnz #RG18 pic.twitter.com/grtZ1fsHeN
Cecchinato held his nerve in a tight fourth set tiebreak to claim a famous victory on his fourth match point. Up next for Cecchinato is Dominic Thiem.
Austrian claycourt specialist Thiem thumped a battle-weary Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-2 6-1 to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the third consecutive year.
U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens set up a semi-final clash against fellow-American Madison Keys after easing past Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-1.
Keys, who lost to Stephens in the U.S. Open final at Flushing Meadows last year, rallied from a break down in the opening set to beat Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 7-6(5) 6-4.
Highlights from day 10 of the French Open tennis championships on Tuesday :
CECCHINATO KNOCKS OUT DJOKOVIC
Unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato won the fourth set after a marathon tiebreak to knock former champion Novak Djokovic out of Roland Garros. The world number 72 prevailed 6-3 7-6(4) 1-6 7-6(11) in three hours and 26 minutes.
Cecchinato also became the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-finals since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978.
"Maybe I'm sleeping. I don't understand nothing... it's unbelievable for me," Cecchinato said. "For me, to beat Djokovic in a quarter-final at Roland Garros... it's amazing."
Up next for Cecchinato is seventh seed Dominic Thiem.
STEPHENS BEGINS STRONGLY AGAINST KASATKINA
Sloane Stephens hit 10 winners and converted two break points to take the first set of her last eight clash against Daria Kasatkina 6-3. This is the third meeting between the pair with both players winning once.
THIEM EASES PAST AILING ZVEREV
Dominic Thiem won the third set to complete a comfortable 6-4 6-2 6-1 victory over an ailing number two seed Alexander Zverev and moved into the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the third straight year.
Zverev, who sported heavy strapping on his left thigh after the second set, struggled to move on court. Although the German found his range with some big baseline winners, Thiem held firm to advance.
"It was tough for him today, he's one of the fittest guys on tour," Thiem said. "It's tough to play three five-setters in a row. I hope that we have many more encounters against each other at this stage or even later in a Grand Slam."
KEYS STORMS INTO SEMI-FINALS
Madison Keys closed out the second set in style to seal a 7-6(5) 6-4 victory over Yulia Putintseva and move into the French Open semi-finals for the first time in her career.
"I definitely needed you guys today, you helped me get through," Keys told the crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen. "I'm very happy to win in straight sets."