World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the 11th straight year. Djokovic defeated No. 15 seed Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the fourth round at court Philippe-Chatrier. The Serbian improved his head-to-head record against Khachanov to 4-1 and hasn’t yet dropped a set en route to the quarterfinal stage.
During the first set, Djokovic encountered a deja vu moment that revived painful memories of his US Open 2020 debacle. The No. 1 seed attempted a forehand return of Khachanov’s serve. However, the ball hit the frame of his racket and struck a lines judge in the head. Djokovic immediately went to the line judge to check his condition and was relieved to find him unhurt.
In the post-match conference, Djokovic talked about the awkward moment and said he felt sorry for the official who got hit unintentionally. He said, “My gosh, it was very awkward deja vu. I’m actually trying to find the lines person and see if he’s okay because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him.”
The Serbian admitted that people were going to link this incident with his US Open disqualification. At the US Open 2020, Djokovic smacked a ball in frustration which ended up hitting a lines judge throat. This ultimately resulted in his disqualification from the tournament.
“Obviously because of what happened in New York, people I guess are going to make the story out of this. It has happened to me and to many other players in the last 15 years that I’ve been on the tour,” remarked Novak.
Interestingly, Pablo Carreno Busta was the player who benefitted from Djokovic’s disqualification from the US Open. He will now face the No.1 seed in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. Carreno Busta ousted German Daniel Altmaier in straight sets to reach the last eight in Paris for the first time since 2017.