Giant Killer! Cecchinato takes out former champion Djokovic in blockbuster match
PARIS: Novak Djokovic has been knocked out of the French Open in surprise defeat to the Italian Marco Cecchinato, who had never won a Grand Slam match before this tournament.
Cecchinato won the opening two sets and despite Djokovic rapidly claiming the third, he clinched a dramatic tie-break 13-11 in the fourth set to see off the 2016 Roland Garros champion.
The 25-year-old will now progress to the semi-finals where he will meet the 24-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem as both players chase a place in their first Grand Slam final.
The latest player to be hindered by injury at the French Open, Djokovic received a medical timeout for what appeared to be a neck or shoulder problem at the end of the first set and fell 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 7-6 (13-11) to the 72nd-ranked Italian in nearly three and a half hours.
Cecchinato converted on his fourth match point in the gripping fourth-set tiebreak, his backhand return looping in as the Serb served and volleyed. Djokovic wasted three set points in the tiebreak and also couldn't serve out the set at 5-3.
The 12-time grand slam winner's renaissance after an elbow injury and loss of motivation thus hit a road block.
Cecchinato, combining power, finesse and stellar movement, became the lowest-ranked men's semifinalist at the French Open since Andrei Medvedev in 1999. His "dream" continues, two years after being handed an 18-month ban for match fixing by Italy's tennis