Novak Djokovic in unheard of 3am French Open ‘madness’ with Lorenzo Mussetti.

Novak Djokovic created another history-making moment after an absurd 3am thriller with Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

The Serbian champion was on the verge of suffering his worst French Open defeat in 15 years in the early hours of Sunday morning before launching a dramatic comeback to clinch a five-set victory.

Reigning champion and 24-time Grand Slam title winner Djokovic came back from two sets to one to triumph 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round. ended at 3:07am Paris time.

It was the latest finish ever seen at Roland Garros with the fifth set starting after the previous record. A commentator on Tennis TV called it “madness”.

His victory in four hours and 29 minutes allowed the 37-year-old world number one to equal Roger Federer’s record of 369 Grand Slam match wins.

His reward is a clash with Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina for a place in the quarterfinals.

“I have to congratulate Lorenzo Musetti, it’s a shame that someone had to lose,” Djokovic said in his television interview on the court.

“I want to tell him that he played an incredible match. He was very, very close to winning.

“I had a bit of luck at the beginning of the fourth set, at that moment he was the best player on the court. In the fourth he was impenetrable.

“He played with a really high quality. I was in great difficulty.”

The 22-year-old Musetti gave Djokovic a big scare at the French Open in the 2021 fourth round, when he took a two-set lead before an injury forced him to retire in the final set.

Djokovic had arrived in Paris without having won a title or even reached a season final for the first time since 2018.

To add insult to injury, he was accidentally hit on the head with a metal water bottle in Rome before suffering stomach problems in Geneva.

Organizers decided to add extra matches to Roland Garros’ two roofed courts on Saturday after heavy rain caused a five-hour suspension of play.

As a result, it was almost 10.45pm when Djokovic and Musetti finally brought Philippe Chatrier onto the court.

Djokovic recovered an early break in the first set and broke again in the 12th game to secure the first goal.

He led 3-1 in the second before being pinned in the seventh game while wasting a set point in the tiebreaker.

Musetti was suddenly the cooler of the two as the clock ticked towards 2am. He overcame the third set thanks to a double break.

However, in a surprising twist, Djokovic called upon his trademark fighting spirit and tenacity to level the tie with a double break in the fourth set.

Musetti, 15 years Djokovic’s junior, suddenly saw his hopes dashed as he quickly slipped 4-0 down in the decider.

Djokovic completed the victory with a forehand winner after reeling off 11 of the last 12 games.

– with the AFP

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