Novak Djokovic could skip Wimbledon after shock exit at Roland Garros

Ruben Holloway
June 6, 2018

The 12-time Grand Slam champion was stunned by Cecchinato, who had already taken out Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin, in what was a fine four-set match, which finished in dramatic fashion with a breathtaking tiebreaker.

Djokovic had two set points at 6-5 in the second but went on to lose a tie-break.

Cecchinato cruised through the opening set as Djokovic was suffering from neck pain before the Serbian fought back after the loss of the second.

"He held his nerves amazingly well in important moments", acknowledged Djokovic, who said he isn't certain whether he will play at Wimbledon.

"I don't know if I'm going to play on grass", Djokovic told a media conference room minutes after walking off court.

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.

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He said: "Maybe I'm sleeping".

The underdog shocked Djokovic on Tuesday, beating the 2016 Roland Garros champion 6-3, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6. "There was another year of work where I improved and developed my game", said the 24-year-old.

And Djokovic woke up, blazing through the third set as Cecchinato looked out of sorts.

"He played unbelievable, so congratulations for a great performance", he said. I struggled from the beginning.

"I just could never turn it around out here". He led by a break twice and missed a host of routine short-court forehands in the breaker while failing to convert three set points.

In a tense encounter, both men were slapped with code violations for coaching before Cecchinato gallantly saved three set points.

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Yet Djokovic won the third set at a canter, and a suddenly frustrated Cecchinato was hit with a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Once again we're forced to ask: Is Novak Djokovic back?

Djokovic won on his second match point with an easy smash at the net.

If Djokovic beats Cecchinato he will meet either German second seed Alexander Zverev or Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem - who have won more Tour matches in 2018 than any other player - in the last four.

To achieve that feat, Cecchinato, who in 2016 was suspended for 18 months for match fixing before his ban was lifted following a successful appeal, displayed an impressive range of claycourt tennis skills.

After fighting through three consecutive five-set match-wins, Zverev is still on track to be the first German men's champion at Roland Garros since 1937. This will be Zverev's first quarterfinal match in a Grand Slam, so Thiem edges him in experience. Many would have been hoping for a Nadal-Djokovic matchup for old time's sake.

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