Skip to content

Novak Djokovic: Defending champion and world No 1 wins another five-set French Open epic at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic continues his chase for a record-extending 25th major title and fourth French Open after defeating Francisco Cerundolo in a thrilling four hours and 39 minutes to reach a record 59th Grand Slam quarter-final

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Image: Novak Djokovic wins another thrilling near five-hour, five-setter at the French Open

Novak Djokovic battled injury and fatigue to survive another near five-hour, five-set French Open thriller with a 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory over Francisco Cerundolo on Monday.

The 37-year-old tweaked his knee and received four medical timeouts for the problem, but despite his movement being hampered, Djokovic refused to surrender, and he battled back from two sets to one down and 2-4 in the fourth set to make the last eight in Paris for the 15th consecutive time.

The Serb, who is chasing a record-extending 25th Grand Slam title, sealed his 370th match victory to move clear of Swiss great Roger Federer.

Back to back five-setters for Djokovic

It is the first time since the 2012 French Open that Djokovic has played back to back five-setters at a Grand Slam (Andreas Seppi, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga)

The only other time before then was also in 2012 at the Australian Open (those epics against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal)

"Again a big thank you because once again like the last match, the win is your win," an exhausted Djokovic told the crowd in fluent French.

The 37-year-old showed no early signs of fatigue from his marathon third-round win over Lorenzo Musetti, another near five-hour epic that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, as he blitzed clay specialist Cerundolo in the opening set.

Djokovic sustained a right knee issue early in the next and needed treatment on court. He was heard telling the physio: "I screwed up my knee. I'm slipping and sliding all the time."

Four games later he complained to a tournament supervisor about the state of the court, saying: "I'm telling you as a player, it's not okay."

Also See:

When the official told Djokovic the grounds people felt the surface was fine, the Serbian snapped: "They know better than me the court is good or not?"

Serbia's Novak Djokovic receives medical assistance for his right knee during his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
Image: Djokovic receives medical assistance for his right knee during the contest

He took medication again after Argentinian 23rd seed Cerundolo levelled the match, finally converting a break point at the 13th attempt.

Cerundolo grabbed another break early in the next set to go 3-0 up and comfortably got ahead in the clash as alarm bells began to ring for Djokovic for a second straight match as he continued to hobble between points.

The 24-time grand slam champion, whose five-set match against Lorenzo Musetti finished after 3am on Sunday morning, appeared to be running on empty and chuntered with his team in the players' box, occasionally appearing to suggest he was ready to give up.

The finish line seemed to appear for Argentine hitter Cerundolo when he went up 4-2 in the next set but the 25-year-old squandered the advantage as Djokovic sent down two big serves and produced a spectacular drop en route to holding for 6-5 before levelling the contest.

Having dropped serve after a fast start, Djokovic took a nasty tumble during a point and ranted about the state of the Court Philippe-Chatrier surface, with his voice drenched in sarcasm: "Well done, supervisor and everybody. Not slippery at all."

Yet Djokovic did not appear too injured when he dived to get to a volley at the net, almost going full splits before landing on his stomach on his way to winning another remarkable match.

The Serbian will play Casper Ruud in a rematch of last year's final on Wednesday.

Norwegian seventh seed Ruud defeated American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-4 6-2 to book his spot in the quarter-finals.

Most Grand Slam wins, all-time

370 - Djokovic

369 - Federer

314 - Nadal

233 - Connors

224 - Agassi

McEnroe: I'm mesmerised he keeps pulling this off!

A happy tennis fan caught Serbia's Novak Djokovic's towel after his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Image: A happy tennis fan catches Djokovic's towel after his epic win

John McEnroe on Eurosport: "I've watched and played tennis for over 50 years and I've never ever seen anything like this match.

"The last time he'd won back-to-back five-set matches was 12 years ago when he was 25 years old - the same age Cerundolo is right now.

"And yet, at 37, how does this guy still find a way to pull these matches out? He played until 3am [on Sunday night]! It's truly amazing."

Henman: I'm in shock!

Former British No1 Tim Henman on Eurosport: "It is absolutely unbelievable. It is amazing to watch his level of tennis, and his ability to deal with adversity and come up with his very best shots at the most important moments.

"Part of me stands here and I'm almost in shock. But why? This is what he does! I shouldn't be surprised; I've seen it so many times.

"He always finds a way to get the job done. That's why he's one of the greats of all time. Another incredible performance - and on the back of an epic in the round before too."

De Minaur makes history for Australia

Australia's Alex De Minaur celebrates winning his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Russia's Daniil Medvedev at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, June 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Image: Alex de Minaur broke a 20-year Australian hoodoo at the French Open as he battled from a set down to stun fifth seed Daniil Medvedev

Alex de Minaur was roared on by his young superfan as he upset Daniil Medvedev to reach his first quarter-final in Paris.

The Australian had launched an appeal on social media to find the boy who had cheered every point he won throughout his rain-interrupted third-round win over Jan-Lennard Struff.

And the boy was given a front-row seat on Court Suzanne Lenglen to watch his hero reach the last eight after a 4-6 6-2 6-1 6-3 victory.

Australian men who reached the French Open QFs over the past 40 years

Patrick Rafter (1997)

Lleyton Hewitt (2001, 2004)

Alex De Minaur (2024)

"He's managed a miracle. I might have to get him on tour week in, week out," said the 11th seed.

"No, we found him obviously through the beautiful world of social media, we ended up finding him. We got him to the match. He came with his whole crew, with his mates and his coach. It was great to see him out there.

"Again, even on that big court, I could hear him after every single point. It's a distinctive voice, so it's great to see.

"He'll be around. I think he'll be chilling with me tomorrow in my practice day and of course he'll be there for the very next match."

It was a tough afternoon for fifth seed Medvedev, who took the first set handily but needed lengthy treatment on a horrible-looking blister on his foot in the second.


Alex de Minaur becomes the first Australian man into the final eight at Roland-Garros since Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 after defeating Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev refused to blame the issue for his defeat, though.

He said: "No, not at all. I had a blister, it didn't help me to call the physio, but I had a blister that got a little irritated so needed to take care of it.

"No, Alex played better. To be honest, I'm disappointed to lose, but I don't have anything to tell myself in a tough way like I was not, I don't know, good attitude today or I was not fighting till the end.

"I did all of this. He played better. My best was not enough today, so looking forward to next ones."

Alexander Zverev of Germany plays against Holger Rune of Denmark in a men's singles fourth-round match at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 3, 2024. (Kyodo via AP Images) ==Kyodo
Image: Alexander Zverev went the distance again before defeating Holger Rune

De Minaur will face No 4 seed Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals after the German took down No 13 Holger Rune 4-6 6-1 5-7 7-6 (2) 6-2.

it was Zverev's second-straight match to go the distance after he needed to win a first-to-10 fifth-set tiebreaker to beat No. 26 Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands in the third round.

In a four-hour, 11-minute match against Rune that went past 1am local time, Zverev hit 16 aces with just three double faults and had a 61-60 edge in winners, while Rune had 50 unforced errors to his opponent's 39.

What's coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

In the run-up to the third Grand Slam of 2024 - Wimbledon - you can watch all of the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete across the grass-court season.

  • Stuttgart Open (ATP 250 with Andy Murray in action) - June 10-16
  • Rosmalen Open (ATP/WTA 250) - June 10-16

Watch the WTA and ATP Tours throughout 2024 on Sky Sports Tennis. Stream Sky Sports Tennis and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership. No contract, cancel anytime.

Around Sky