Sports

Djokovic casts Wimbledon doubts after shock French Open loss

Djokovic casts Wimbledon doubts after shock French Open loss

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

In a roller-coaster of a quarter-final, both men were warned for coaching, 2016 champion Djokovic required two medical timeouts while the Italian was docked a point for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

However, Verdasco held his nerve under intense pressure, saving all four set points at 5-6, one of them with a second-serve ace that flew down the middle.

Djokovic won 144 points to Cecchinato's 140 in the end but was surprisingly less effective in the clutch plays, one particular area of his game that seemingly still needs recovery.

The Serbian, who is not committed to any event before The Championships, commented: 'I don't know if I'm going to play on grass. I just came from the court.

Two years ago, his career was nearly derailed when he became embroiled in match fixing allegations. "That's where I'm back", said the 2016 French Open champion.

American 13th seed Madison Keys also reached her first Roland Garros quarter-final with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu. "It's unbelievable", he said.

Cecchinato is bidding to become the first Italian man to reach the semi-finals at a Grand Slam since Corrado Barazzutti in Paris in 1978.

Dimitrov fought back in a more competitive third set, but could not overcome his opponent with Verdasco ultimately winning 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4.

Verdasco, world No. 35, coped with world No. 5 Dimitrov's winners, controlling the serve points, only conceding his service game three times out of ten opportunities. This will be Zverev's first quarterfinal match in a Grand Slam, so Thiem edges him in experience.

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

When pressed on whether that meant he would not play at Wimbledon, the 31-year-old Serb was non-committal.

"I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do".

Zverev, considered among a select few capable of dethroning defending champion and French Open king Rafael Nadal, had to do it the hard way as he was on the right side of a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 scoreline.

It is the seventh time the world No. 35 has reached the French Open fourth round, but it is the only Grand Slam tournament where he is yet to make the last eight.

The 23-year-old struggled last September under the pressure with the US Open title on the line, losing 6-3, 6-0, but she is confident that performance won't affect the match at Roland Garros.

"First week, my goal is to get to the second week", said Keys.


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