Novak Djokovic stunned by 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato at French Open 2018

French Open casualty Grigor Dimitrov

World No. 72 Cecchinato gave fans all the more reason to remember his name after he pushed Djokovic to the edge in Tuesday's quarter-final clash and sealed his four-set victory with a 24-point tiebreak win.

But from somewhere Cecchinato got a second wind and took the fourth in a thrilling tie-break, converting a fourth match point to win 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 1-6 7/6 (13-11).

Cecchinato, who described his sporting heroes as the Brazilian footballer Kaka and Marat Safin, is the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Corrado Barazzuti made the last four here in 1978.

"I think that's going to be the number one priority for me now to kind of step out from the tennis for a little bit, try to watch some matches and try to progress and get better".

"Just a pity that I couldn't capitalise on the chances in the 4-1 in the fourth set and some break points".

Resurgent former champion Novak Djokovic reached the French Open quarter-finals for the 12th time on Sunday as he subdued feisty Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-4 6-2. I'm very happy because it's unbelievable to beat Novak Djokovic in a quarter-final at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, seeded 20th as he continues his return from an elbow injury, was visibly angry in the second set, which he lost on a tie-break.

German second seed Zverev simply ran out of gas, paying a heavy price for needing three successive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

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The 25-year-old had never won a Grand Slam match before this tournament, but showed some good form when winning an ATP clay-court title in Budapest as a lucky loser earlier this year.

Cecchinato has never won a tour-level match on a surface other than red clay; as it is, he entered this season with a career record of 4-23.

"It was the best moment of my life", Cecchinato said.

His climb up the rankings and his efforts here are all the more remarkable given what happened to him in 2016, when he was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in Italy.

Djokovic, bidding to reach a 32nd Grand Slam semi-final, hit just three winners in the first set.

Spain's Fernando Verdasco celebrates after winning his first round match against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 19, 2016. How hard is it to accept defeat in such good grace in the same manner as you can accept victory?

"Sometimes you have to battle to get the win and that's what I did today".

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