Men: Djokovic survives huge scare

Novak Djokovic could only applaud as his fourth-round opponent Andreas Seppi walked away defeated from a punishing five-set encounter the Serb sought to explain away as nothing more than a bad day at the office.


The world number one completed a remarkable escape act on Sunday to move into the French Open quarter-finals, hauling himself back from two sets down to beat the unfancied Italian 4-6 6-7 6-3 7-5 6-3 after more than four hours of tennis.

It was not one for Djokovic's scrap book. Under a leaden Parisian sky, he looked down and out as he racked up a catalogue of unforced errors to fall towards the precipice of an early exit.

The fact that he eventually clawed his way back from the brink is testament to his iron will, but it will do nothing to convince those who believe Rafa Nadal will clinch a record seventh French Open title this year to change their minds.

The Mallorcan scrapper has made just 51 unforced errors in his three opening encounters, all won in straight sets, while Djokovic totted up 76 in this match alone.

"It was one of those days where...nothing is working really," Djokovic said. "My serve was fine but aside from that I could not get into the rhythm. I was fighting, and I think because of the fight I won the match.

"All the congratulations for his tournament and performance today. I think he was a better player for the first two sets, definitely.

"I was very fortunate to come through this match."

Djokovic will now play either fifth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or number 18 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Sunday's action was suspended due to bad light with Juan Del Potro's clash against Tomas Berdych and Tsonga's match against Wawrinka incomplete.

Tsonga and Wawrinka were tied at two sets each, with Tsonga a break up in the fifth, while Del Potro led Berdych 2-1.

Roger Federer dropped the first set against Belgian fan and newcomer David Goffin before imposing his authority to reach the quarter-finals 5-7 7-5 6-2 6-4.

The Swiss, champion in 2009, saved two breakpoints in the first set before hitting a forehand error on the third but gradually began to dominate the match.

The cool, windy weather had made conditions difficult on Suzanne Lenglen Court, Federer said.

"I really struggled for a long time out there and conditions were slow," he told a news conference.

Lucky loser Goffin, the first man in 12 years to reach the last 16 on his Grand-Slam debut, impressed Federer and the crowd with his fighting spirit and prowess at the net, bowing to the fans on three sides after one particularly athletic dropshot.

Federer will now play either seventh seed Berdych or number nine Del Potro and said he would be glad to meet a more familiar player.

"It has been a tough last couple of weeks, I have played guys I have almost never heard about and I don't know their patterns and it's made things difficult for me," he said. "But I have made it through and I will definitely meet someone I know a lot better."

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so that everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Win cash in one day fantasy football contests. Join now!

    Learn how to play

    Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
    PL £1 Learn To Play [No Risk] 24/150 £1 £180 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter
    PL £2 Double Up [Learn to Play] 3/11 £2 £20 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter
    PL £10 Double Up [Win £20] 1/11 £10 £100 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter