Novak Djokovic survives huge French Open scare to reach quarter-finals



Novak Djokovic celebrates a point against Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open
Novak Djokovic needed painkillers after suffering a second-set injury (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic survived a huge scare against 23rd-seed Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open on Monday to book a spot in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic, the defending champion, has endured a tough year but it looked set to get worse as Cerundolo opened up a healthy lead in their fourth-round battle.

The 37-year-old was massively struggling after picking up an injury in the second set as he fell out with both the crowd and his own box on court Philippe-Chatrier.

Djokovic, though, refused to give up and showcased exactly why he is a 24-time Grand Slam champion as he eventually clinched a 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory over five thrilling sets to keep his hopes alive of landing a historic 25th major title.

‘I have to say thank you to the fans, like in the previous match,’ Djokovic said in his on-court interview.

‘Against Lorenzo Musetti it was 2-2 in the fourth set and my energy level changed completely. You gave me a lot of energy. Today the same thing happened.

‘You gave me a lot of support. Not much more I can say. Perhaps I was three or four points from losing this match today.

Novak Djokovic of Sebia reacts after defeating Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina at the 2024 French Open
Novak Djokovic has passed another record set by Roger Federer (Picture: Getty)

‘I have to congratulate Francisco because he played with excellent quality. He deserves to be applauded.

‘The only explanation I have is thanks to you. So thank you again for all your support.’

Djokovic’s win over Cerundolo means he has now passed Roger Federer as the man with the most Grand Slam quarter-final appearances with 59.

Djokovic was firmly on the ropes at times against Cerundolo and was irked by a yelling child in the second set when he tried to serve.

The Serbian also grew frustrated at some members of the crowd as well as his own team.

‘[He] is just shouting from the baseline to his box,’ Naomi Broady said on BBC commentary duties. ‘He’s not happy with the information he’s receiving.’

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