After an early scare, Novak Djokovic rallied and pushed past Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round of the 2013 French Open.
This was only the second time Djokovic and Kohlschreiber have met on clay, with the German taking the initial match back in 2009 in the third round at Roland Garros.
It seemed early on that the outcome was heading in the same direction on Monday, but—like the fickle winds swirling in Paris—the match quickly diverted course into Djokovic's favor.
Playing with a heavy heart due to the death of his first coach, Jelena Gencic, Djokovic came out sluggish and allowed Kohlschreiber to dictate the action. Nole seemed flat and was utilizing a reactive style instead of playing in an aggressive manner that has become standard for the 26-year-old.
That all changed during the second set, when Djokovic shook off some lucky shots from his opponent, began hitting through the ball and showed off his trademark fire by shouting and getting the crowd involved.
The change in attitude and style clearly paid off, as Nole was able to win that set and the next two. With the win, he advanced to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the 16th time in a row.
Djokovic will be facing 35-year-old Tommy Haas there, who has improbably made a deep run in this event despite his age. Should the Serb be able to get past his experienced foe, he’ll wind up right where he was expected to be prior to the start of this tournament: in the semifinals.
Joining him will likely be No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal, the seven-time winner at Roland Garros.
If all goes to plan, expect a legendary clash between these two rivals—one that just happens to be a rematch of an epic final in 2012.
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