Novak Djokovic is a heavy favourite to be back in the semi-finals of a grand slam for the first time since the US Open in 2016. He plays Marco Cecchinato, an Italian who had not won a match at a slam prior to this French Open. Waiting in the semi-final will be either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev.
Cecchinato had won his first ATP title last month in Budapest but there was no suggestion that such a slam run was forthcoming. He has managed to beat two top 10 seeds back to back in Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin, the latter being his first top 10 win ever. He was in control for much of the match against Goffin, coming out on top in four sets 7-5 4-6 6-0 6-3.
Djokovic dealt with the veteran savvy of Fernando Verdasco fairly comfortably, dropping serve just once in the 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory. He has lost just one set in the four rounds so far, only being troubled by Verdasco’s countryman Roberto Bautista Agut. “I’m just taking it one match at a time, and right now, considering I played almost four hours in my last match, I felt pretty good physically today,” he said. “I had no problems to go the distance in long rallies and I won in the three sets against a player who is in form, especially for this surface. So that’s all positives for now.”
Even with Cecchinato in great form, Djokovic should be relieved at having what appears to be such an easy opponent so deep into the tournament. Class should finally tell with the Serb now edging towards something resembling one of the top players in the game. The real test will come in the next round with both of his potential opponents feeling they should be victorious in that one.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets