Novak Djokovic is now the strong favourite to advance to the semi finals from his quarter of the draw. He plays Fernando Verdasco for a spot in the quarter finals, where the winner will play either David Goffin or Marco Cecchinato. It would be his first slam semi final since the US Open 2016 – ending his longest run of events without a slam semi final since the 2007 French Open where he made his first.
Djokovic had dealt with weak opponents fairly easily in the first two rounds but needed to pull a bit more out to advance in round four. Roberto Bautista Agut took him four sets but will be ruing his missed chances in the third set – having twice led by a break and also having served for the set. He raced through the fourth to complete the 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-2 win. I think it was a great test. I had to earn my victory. Last set was actually the best set that I have played so far in the tournament.” a delighted Djokovic said afterwards.
Verdasco picked up the shock victory over Grigor Dimitrov in round three, breaking the Bulgarian six times in the 7-6 6-2 6-4 victory. The Spaniard can still muster a high level from time to time and has now beaten top 10 players (A. Zverev 2017) at the French in the past two years. Verdasco does actually have a decent record against Djokovic with four wins from fourteen, although the most recent of them came in 2010.
“To be able to play that way and finish the match in tough conditions [after winning the third from a break down] against a player who doesn’t miss a lot and puts a lot of balls back, that’s something that gives me great deal of confidence.” he said. A confident Djokovic is a dangerous one – he still may find it tough when it comes to the deep end of the tournament if Zverev and Nadal make the semi finals and final as expected but the matchups feel less one sided than it did so a month ago.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets