Novak Djokovic rallies from two sets down at French Open
6/7/2021 2:06:01 PM EST
Top seed Novak Djokovic won after losing the first two sets for the fifth time in his career on Monday, avoiding his earliest exit at the French Open since 2009 in the process.
Italian teen Lorenzo Musetti won the first two sets in tiebreaks against the top-ranked Serbian, but picked up just 17 total points the rest of the way before retiring in the fifth set.
Djokovic finally walked off the court after three hours and 27 minutes a 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 winner to improve to 24-3 on the season.
Musetti, 19, improved to 10-0 on tiebreaks this season, but couldn't answer Djokovic after the strong start. It was Musetti's Grand Slam debut and first time facing Djokovic.
The 34-year-old Djokovic won the French Open title in 2016. He reached the final 16 in the men's draw for a record 12th straight year, breaking the 11-year tie he held with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who each reached the milestone from 2005-16.
Nadal, who has a record 13 French Open titles, defeated another Italian teen, No. 18 seed Jannik Sinner, in straight sets on Monday to reach his 15th quarterfinal in Paris.
Next up for Djokovic is No. 9 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy, who advanced in a walkover when Federer pulled out on Sunday to rest his surgically repaired right knee.
"Big serve, big forehand -- two big weapons," Djokovic said of Berrettini. "He's in form. He finished the last year very strong. He started this year strong as well. ... He just has so much firepower in his game. (I will) need to be at (my) best in order to have a chance to win."
Also winning Monday was No. 10 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, who dispatched German Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (9), 6-4, 7-5, although not with some struggles.
"I did many mistakes," said Schwartzman. "I think at the beginning of the match, he had the first set very easy. I made a comeback. Then in the second I was two times a break down. Then in the third I was up, then I was not sure to close the match. It was a weird match, but it sometimes happens. The important thing is I won in three sets. I'm just thinking positively right now."
Schwartzman will play Nadal, who defeated Sinner 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and 20 minutes. Nadal converted nine of 14 break chances and finished with 31 winners and 30 unforced errors, compared to just 11 winners and 40 unforced errors by the 19-year-old Sinner.
Nadal, 35, is 10-1 in head-to-head matches with Schwartzman, including a win in the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2020.
--Field Level Media
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