World number 72 Marco Cecchinato became the first Italian man in 40 years to reach a Grand Slam semi-final
on Tuesday with a breathtaking 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 7-6 (13/11) victory over 12-time major winner Novak
Cecchinato, who had never won a Grand Slam match in his career before Roland Garros, goes on to face Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem for a place in Sunday’s final.
In an epic fourth set tiebreaker, Djokovic saved three match points but wasted three set points as Cecchinato became the lowest-ranked man in the semi-finals in Paris since 100th-ranked Andrei Medvedev in 1999.
In a roller-coaster of a quarter-final, both men were warned for coaching, 2016 champion Djokovic required two medical timeouts while the Italian was docked a point for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Djokovic had also squandered three set points in the second set and failed to serve out the fourth in the ninth game after being 5-2 in front.
Djokovic, bidding to reach a 32nd Grand Slam semi-final, hit just three winners in the first set.
The 31-year-old also needed a medical timeout to treat a neck injury which looked as if it would derail him when he slipped 0-2 down in the second set to the Italian outsider.
However, Djokovic levelled at 2-2 and then survived two break points -- and a 30-stroke rally -- in the seventh game.
Thiem reached his third successive French Open semi-final with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of a hobbled and exhausted Alexander Zverev who admitted he was close to quitting
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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