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French Open 2024: Djokovic ends with a whimper, Jannik Sinner assured of top ranking

Storm Sanders was Australia’s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

Novak Djokovic withdrew from the French Open with an injured right knee on June 4, 2024, ending his title defense and meaning he will relinquish the No. 1 ranking.
| Photo Credit: AP

Novak Djokovic’s French Open title defence ended with a whimper following the top seed’s withdrawal due to a right knee problem while Jannik Sinner celebrated his imminent takeover as world number one with a crushing win over Grigor Dimitrov on June 4.

There was no drama on the women’s side as holder Iga Swiatek continued her quest for a fourth Roland Garros trophy by hitting top gear during a 6-0 6-2 victory over 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova to also reach the semifinals.

American third seed Coco Gauff earlier fought back to beat fan-favourite Ons Jabeur 4-6 6-2 6-3 and will take on Swiatek in a tantalising rematch of their 2022 final, which the Pole won.

Roland Garros was rocked towards the end of Sinner’s routine win as organisers announced that Djokovic had withdrawn from his 2023 final rematch with seventh seed Casper Ruud in the last-eight on June 5.

It meant that Sinner, who ended Djokovic’s quest for an 11th Australian Open title en route to his first Grand Slam trophy in January, will also take his top ranking next Monday and become the first Italian to do so.

Djokovic needed a superhuman effort and five sets to subdue Argentine Francisco Cerundolo on Monday after being dragged the distance for a second straight contest and the Serb aggravated the injury he had been carrying by slipping on court.

The French Open said MRI results revealed that Djokovic, who played on with pain-killers, had suffered a torn medial meniscus that prompted him to take the decision.

It was the latest in a series of unfortunate events for the 37-year-old, who won three out of the four majors last year but has looked off the pace this season, with defeats and an injury threatening his bid for Wimbledon and Paris Olympics glory.

Even as Djokovic arrived at Roland Garros to clean out his locker, Sinner was easing to a 6-2 6-4 7-6(3) win over Dimitrov and the 22-year-old said he had achieved a lifelong dream, even if it was not the way he expected to.

“What can I say? First of all it’s every player’s dream to be number one. On the other hand, seeing Novak retiring here is, for everyone, disappointing. I wish him a quick recovery,” Sinner said.

The Australian Open champion could face a potentially tricky test against two-times Grand Slam champion Carlos Alcaraz or former Roland Garros runner-up…

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