Cecchinato shocks Djokovic at Roland Garros

ROME – Italy’s Marco Cecchinato stunned Novak Djokovic in a nail-biting encounter to reach the French Open semi-final and now gears up to face Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Friday.

 The unseeded 25-year-old caused a major upset, becoming Italy’s first male player to reach this stage of the competition in 40 years with an astonishing 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 7-6 (13-11) victory.

 The Italian had never won a main-draw Grand Slam match before this year’s Roland Garros and becomes the lowest ranked player to earn a place in the last four since world number 100 Andrei Medvedev in 1999.

 Having won the first two sets, Cecchinato was pinned back by the 12-time Grand Slam winner who rampaged through the third set, but the Italian regathered his feet in the fourth, holding his nerve in as a crucial tie-break finished 13-11.

 “When I saw my return hit the line it was the best moment of my life,” Cecchinato said in his post-match press conference.

 “Maybe I’m sleeping. It’s amazing, it’s unbelievable for me. I’m very happy because it’s unbelievable to beat Novak Djokovic in a quarter-final at Roland Garros. It’s amazing,” the Italian added.

 Djokovic, who called on his physio for neck treatment after dropping the first set, may now be a doubt for Wimbledon, adding to a torrid year of injuries for the Serb.

 “I don't know if I'm going to play on grass … I'm just not thinking about tennis at the moment,” Djokovic said, passing on his congratulations to Cecchinato for a superb performance.

 With the other two men’s quarter finals being contested on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal remains hot favourite to add to his collection of 10 French Open titles.