Unseeded Cecchinato Knocks Out Djokovic and Thiem Beats Zverev To Make French Open S
(June 5, 2018) Unseeded Marco Cecchinato defeated 2016 champion and 20th seed Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11) in a rollercoster of a match to reach the final four at Roland Garros on Tuesday. At No. 72 in the world, the Italian is the lowest seed to reach the semifinals in 19 years and is the first Italian to do it 40 years.
“He played amazing and credit to him. Congrats for a great performance,” Djokovic said. “He came out very well. I struggled from the beginning. Unfortunately, it took me time to get well, and struggled with a little injury, as well, at the beginning. And after, when I warmed up, it was better.
But, yeah, just a pity that I couldn’t capitalize on the chances in the 4-1 in the fourth set and some break points that I thought I had in there, but he came back and credit to him.”
“It’s a hard one to swallow.”
“Amazing tennis today,” said the Italian, who has been a practice partner for Djokovic. “I was two sets up against Novak. In the third, I was a little bit tired. Also, in the fourth, I was two break down, and I start to play very well. And on the tiebreak, I played very, very well tiebreak, so many chance match point, and very good points. And in the end, I won the match. Is amazing for me.”
“I had a lot of courage, especially toward the end of the tiebreaker,” Cecchinato said. “I had to push. I knew I had to take risks.” “Because if I played just to stay in points, I could never beat Novak.”
The Italian will take on Dominic Thiem for a chance to reach the final. The No. 7 seed defeated No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1. Zverev injured his hamstring during the match. This is the third straight year that the Austrian has reached the final four of Paris.
“It’s never easy if your opponent obviously is not 100%, ” said Thiem. “But he’s one of the fittest guys on tour, and even for him it’s maybe even a little bit too tough to play three five-setters in the first rounds of a slam. So I expected somehow that he’s a little bit tired, but still I’m happy how I finished the game. I let him run. I was doing what I had to do, and so I’m satisfied.”
“I think this year I’m physically and mentally fresher than I have been the last two years. I know how to handle a Grand Slam now, how to handle — to
get that deep in such a tournament, and I think everything gets better with experience.”