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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday June 2, 2024

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic rallied from two sets to one down to keep alive his title hopes in Paris.

Photo Source: Getty

Paris – Add the latest ever Roland-Garros finish – and yet another five-set victory – to Novak Djokovic’s mind-blowing list of achievements.

Tennis Express

The 24-time major champion added another chapter to his incredible Grand Slam legacy in the wee hours of Sunday morning, capping off a 7-5, 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti to reach the round of 16 at Roland Garros.

With the victory, Djokovic moves into a tie on the all time Grand Slam singles match win list with Roger Federer at 369. Just another day – or should we say morning – for the Grand Slam king.

In a match that capped off a rainy Saturday at the French Open, Djokovic rallied from the edge of defeat to keep alive hopes of winning a record 25th major singles title.

Due to the tournament’s decision to move the remainder of Grigor Dimitrov and Zizou Berg’s third-round match into Court Philippe-Chatrier due to inclement weather and a scheduling logjam, action didn’t start until 11 PM. It lasted four hours and 29 minutes, with the 37-year-old winning 11 of the final 12 games to earn his 39th career five-set victory – and tenth on the Parisian clay – at 3:08 AM.

Djokovic, who rallied from two sets to love down to defeat Musetti in the round of 16 at Roland-Garros in 2021, in the pair’s first career meeting, needed similar fortitude to get by the 22-year-old Italian on Sunday.

Djokovic led 7-5, 4-1, but couldn’t hang on to his lead in the second set, eventually dropping it in a tiebreak as an energized Musetti started to control the run of play. The 30th-ranked Italian then played a flawless third set to put Djokovic one set from his earliest Roland-Garros exit in 15 years, but the World No.1 responded with trademark grit to dig out of his hole, and finished the contest on the dead sprint, pulling away from his vanquished foe to set a fourth-round match with Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

The victory could be the spark Djokovic needs as he continues his quest for a fourth title in Paris. He entered the tournament without a single final to his name in 2024 in a season of upheaval that has seen him part ways with longtime coach Goran Ivanesivic.

It also keeps his hopes of retaining the No.1 ranking after Roland-Garros alive – Jannik Sinner will become the new No.1 next week if Djokovic does not reach the final in Paris, or if Sinner reaches the final in the lower half of the draw.

Never one to shy away from a physical battle, no matter the hour, Djokovic flipped the script on Musetti with a break in the fifth game of the fourth set, and proceeded to dominate the run of play for the rest of the contest.

The drama a thing of the past a few games into the decider, Djokovic dropped a mere nine points in the final set, and converted all three of his break points in the decider, including his last, the match point which sent him through the second week with renewed hope.

Djokovic improves to 95-16 lifetime at Roland-Garros, and 369-49 at the majors.

He may lack for sleep as the tournament marches into its second week on Sunday, but he clearly does not lack for inspiration.


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