The French Open is approaching the business end as the second week takes shape at Roland Garros.
We may not be seeing the effortless Roger Federer or the dogged Andy Murray, but there’s still plenty of entertainment on show.
Instead, The attention has wrestled between the tenacious second-seed Alexander Zverev and the exciting Austrian Dominic Thiem, who will face off for a place in the semi-final.
Of course you can’t forget Rafael Nadal who always creates a big stir in Paris. The ‘King of Clay’ has eased through to the quarter-final stage.
But there is also Novak Djokovic. The Serb’s going under the radar in this year’s tournament.
He has only dropped one set on his way to the last-eight. As Thiem and Zverev squabble to make the last-four, the former world number-one could find his way to yet another Grand-Slam final.
The 2016 French Open winner takes on Marco Cecchinato on the Suzanne-Lenglen court. The Italian is the lowest-ranked quarter-finalist at number 72.
But he has beaten top ten seeds Pablo Carreno and David Goffin on his run to the second week.
Djokovic is fully-aware of Cecchinato’s game after meeting his next opponent on the practice courts,
“I have practised with Marco many times so I know his game,”
“He’s playing the tennis of his life and deserves respect. I’ll approach it very seriously.”
Djokovic, like Murray, has worked himself into the ground in 2016. He played seventeen singles tournaments including the Olympic Games in Brazil. He was pipped to number-one by Murray at the end of the season but both have suffered since.
It was only in late March 2018 that a change of coach for the Serbian turned his fortunes. He had crashed out of tournaments in Indian Wells and the Miami Open without winning a round.
Since parting company with coach Andre Agassi and re-uniting with long-time trainer Marian Vajda there has been positive steps.
The 31-year-old made the semi-finals of the Italian Open last month and now has another last-four appearance firmly in his sights.
The unseeded Cecchinato will be a huge underdog in this one and Djokovic will feel confident he can continue his upward momentum.