June 23rd, 2024

Novak Djokovic tops Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open for a record 370th Grand Slam match win

By Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press on June 3, 2024.

PARIS (AP) – Novak Djokovic was bothered by his right knee, then found himself down a set and a break, before doing what he does so well, coming back to beat No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the French Open’s fourth round on Monday for his record 370th win in a Grand Slam match.

Djokovic, the defending champion at Roland Garros, broke a tie with Roger Federer for the most match wins at major tournaments – and also for the most Slam quarterfinals for a man by reaching the 59th of his career.

And the No. 1-ranked Djokovic did it in ways he has so often over his years of dominance and 24 major trophies, both turning around a contest after trailing – go ahead and ask Federer about holding match points against the guy – and emerging when the tension is greatest. This victory across more than 4 1/2 hours means that Djokovic is now 40-11 in fifth sets over his career; compare that to Cerundolo’s 1-3 mark, and the outcome should surprise no one.

For Djokovic, this was the second consecutive match that lasted more than 4 hours, that he he fell behind 2-1 in sets and that he won in five. In the third round, he made his way past No. 30 Lorenzo Musetti, a 22-year-old from Italy, finishing Sunday after 3 a.m., the latest finish in French Open history.

This time, against Cerundolo, a 25-year-old from Argentina who was trying to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, the 37-year-old Djokovic again used all of his skills, experience and ability to adjust on the fly. He came through, in part, by playing more aggressively and putting extra speed on his groundstrokes, while dealing with whatever was going on with his knee.

Djokovic trailed 4-2 in the fourth set but surged from there.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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