Stunning! Novak Djokovic Comes Back From 2 Sets Down to Reach French Open 2021 Quarterfinals as Lorenzo Musetti Retires

Published 06/07/2021, 11:03 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 7, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his fourth round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


The much-anticipated match between World No.1 Novak Djokovic and 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti ended most spectacularly. After five tight sets, the Serbian ace survived an upset at the hands of the Italian teenager, 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0.

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Unbelievable as it may seem, Musetti rose to the occasion and played the tennis match of his young career. Conversely, Djokovic struggled to keep up with the youngster’s energy and consistency at the start.

Coming into the fourth-round match, the Serbian had not lost a single set in the tournament. However, this narrative changed completely when Djokovic faced the Italian teenager.

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Lorenzo Musetti took the first set of Novak Djokovic in a tie-breaker

The intensity of the match was unparalleled since the start of the match. Both Djokovic and Musetti went straight to business as the fourth-round match left the port.

Unsurprisingly, the Serbian ace got the first break in the match for a 3-1 lead. However, Musetti recovered right away and broke back to level the match 3-3.

Following that, the duo got involved in intense rallies and exquisite engineering of points. Moreover, it was Musetti who got the crowd going with his spectacular shot selection.

But until 6-6, there was no separating the two. It was the first tie break from where Djokovic went down in the match for the first time. Despite breaking Musetti first, the Serbian ace lost three serves and saved three set points before losing the first set 6-7 (7).

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Musetti doubled the lead in a nail-biting second set against Djokovic

As the second set began, both the players started a fresh strategy. While Djokovic took a step back to deliver perfect winners, Musetti went all-out on his aggressive gameplay.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 7, 2021, Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti in action during his fourth round match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Consequently, the Italian got the first break in the second set to get a 1-3 lead. But similar to the opening set, Djokovic got the chance and recovered soon after.

Afterward, Musetti turned up the heat to such a degree that even the World No.1 player could not handle it. From stunning cross-court winners to catching the lines, the Italian brought his A-game to the court.

Somehow, Djokovic survived until 6-6, but later on, he lost it completely in the second tie breaker. Most surprisingly, the 18-time Grand Slam champion left an easy overhead, thinking it was out. But it again caught the line, leaving the Serbian baffled.

As a result, Musetti doubled his set lead and built a perfect base for one of the biggest upsets at Roland-Garros. The scoreline was 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2).

Novak Djokovic picked up in the third set as Musetti dipped in performance

What at one point looked like an upset for Djokovic changed tides in the third set. The 2016 Roland-Garros champion gave nothing away to the young aspirant in the decisive set.

Moreover, the Italian lacked the experience to stay in the match. Thus, he lost his serve in the second and the sixth game. On the other side, the composed Serbian reminded the doubters why he is one of the greatest clutch players in tennis.

At 5-1, Djokovic served to stay in the match and did it comfortably at game and 15. The scoreline: 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1.

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Musetti failed to recover; Djokovic continued to steer

The dream win soon began fading away for the young Italian, as he could not find his rhythm back. In no time, Musetti yet again faced a breakpoint and failed to save it. Djokovic kept pushing the Italian with winners, keeping his opponent frustrated. Although the crowd rallied behind Musetti, he soon found himself 4-0 behind in the fourth set.

Making the most of the situation, the Serbian dismantled the Musetti force completely. In merely 14 minutes, Djokovic was 5-0 up and served to level the match to two sets each. Completing the bagel, the 34-year-old forced a final set to decide the winner. The scoreline: 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-0.

The final set between Djokovic and Musetti

For the final set, the 19-year-old took a medical time out, and the crowd hurrayed as he stepped on the court again. However, nothing changed in the Djokovic plan apart from bleeding from his finger.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 7, 2021, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his fourth round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Yet again, Musetti faced a breakpoint in his first service game and hit it an inch outside the sideline. Winning his 11th successive game with an 11th ace, Djokovic backed up his break to lead 2-0.

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Naturally, the reigning Australian Open champion did not let the lead stop his domination. Thus, he secured a stunning 12th consecutive game to get himself within three games of the quarterfinals.

Funnily enough, Djokovic gave a point over a poor judgment of the baseline but secured a 4-0 advantage without breaking a sweat. In the end, before the Serbian could close out the match, Musetti decided to withdraw. Ultimately, the champion proved his quality and survived Musetti 6-7 (7), 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0.

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He will now meet another Italian Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals. Can he go on and win the Roland-Garros 2021 title?

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Purav Joshi

1142 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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