Djokovic's display of resilience: an epic comeback against Cerundolo

Monday, 03 June 2024 at 20:56
Novak Djokovic (No. 1) overcame Francisco Cerundolo (No. 27) after being on the ropes at the French Open by 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. The 24-time Grand Slam champion showed physical discomfort during the second and third sets, while the Argentine took advantage to bring out his best level, but he couldn't close it out against a Nole who stepped up in the most difficult moments.
The Serb managed to push through his physical issues and, with sheer determination, pulled off a match that seemed lost. In the quarterfinals, he awaits the winner of the match between Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud.

A favorable start for Djokovic

Initially, it seemed like it would be an easy day for Djokovic, who secured two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games. Although Cerundolo raised his level towards the end of the set and was close to recovering one of the breaks, the Serbian comfortably took the set 6-1. The Argentine won only 50% of his first serve points and 38% on his second, committing 11 unforced errors.

Cerundolo raises his game

After 41 minutes, the second set began, the most balanced of the match. The world No. 1 started to struggle against Cerundolo's powerful forehands, which resulted in 19 winners and only 6 unforced errors. Cerundolo also took advantage of Djokovic's movement issues, effectively using dropshots along with his forehand.
Djokovic saved 7 break points throughout the set, while Cerundolo faced no issues on his serve. The match remained even until 5-5, and despite Cerundolo's superiority at that moment, it seemed destined for a tiebreak. However, Djokovic couldn't hold his serve in the 12th game, and Cerundolo leveled the match with a 7-5 set after 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.
The third set started poorly for Djokovic as Cerundolo quickly took a 3-0 lead. Djokovic then began to play more aggressively on the return, although his movement was still hindered, and he didn't chase several points, creating a perfect scenario for the South American's forehands.
The world No. 27 kept his composure on serve, faced no break points, and took the set 6-3. At the end of the set, Djokovic requested a medical timeout due to apparent knee discomfort.

Djokovic's comeback while Cerundolo holds firm

Despite his issues, Djokovic came out to compete in the fourth set against the Argentine, who maintained his high level until the end of the match. The first break opportunity came in the fifth game, and Cerundolo took a 4-2 lead. However, Djokovic fought back, breaking at a crucial moment and then holding serve to lead 5-4.
It seemed that everything could go to a tie-break, but finally Nole got his second break and ended Cerundolo's illusion of closing the match. The world No. 1 brought out his hierarchy, as he did against Lorenzo Musetti in the previous round, and in the fifth set he was unbeatable for his opponent.
The fifth set saw Djokovic's spirits rise as he took an early break and took the lead. Cerundolo returned the break in the next game and kept the tie for several games. With the score 4-3 in Djokovic's favor, he got the final break that allowed him to close the victory by 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in more than 4 hours and 39 minutes.
Nole now awaits the winner of the match between Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud, which will be played at the same time at the Suzanne Lenglen.

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