French Open: Novak Djokovic withdraws, Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek set for rematch in semifinals

French Open: Novak Djokovic withdraws, Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek set for rematch in semifinals

Novak Djokovic withdrew from the French Open with an injured right knee on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, ending his title defense and meaning he will relinquish the No. 1 ranking. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias, File)

Novak Djokovic's quest to win all four major tournaments in a year will have to wait until 2025. The French Open announced Tuesday that the defending champion has withdrawn from the clay court Grand Slam with a right knee injury.

No further details of the knee injury were announced. It's not known when it happened, but he struggled with it during Monday's epic five-set battle against Francisco Cerundolo. The match lasted 4 hours and 39 minutes, and Djokovic needed courtside treatment at least once.

Djokovic was scheduled to face No. 7 Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Ruud will be awarded a walkover (though not a win) and will be automatically advanced to the semifinals, where he'll face either Alexander Zverev or Alex de Minaur, who are scheduled to play on Wednesday.

Withdrawing from Roland Garros means Djokovic will lose the No. 1 spot in the ATP's rankings. World No. 2 Jannik Sinner, who just defeated Grigor Dimitrov to advance to the semifinals, should become the next No. 1 no matter how he ends up finishing at the French Open.

Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff keep finding each other at the French Open. One year after they battled in the finals at Roland Garros, Swiatek, the world No. 1 and Gauff, the world No. 3, will face off in the semifinals on Thursday.

Swiatek, a clay court virtuoso, is on another heater at Roland Garros. She's been a wrecking ball so far, demolishing all of her opponents but one in straight sets. (That one was Naomi Osaka, who forced a third set against Swiatek in the second round before bowing out.) She bageled Anastasia Potapova in the fourth round, winning 6-0, 6-0, and then won a third straight 6-0 set against Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday. It took more than 35 minutes for Vondrousova to win her first game against Swiatek, and she was only able to win one more before Iga completely overwhelmed her.

That will be a lot for Gauff to handle, but she knows what to expect against Swiatek. Her match against Iga in the 2023 final was Gauff's first-ever Grand Slam final, and a year removed from that has only made her more mature and ready to try again. Gauff had a bit more trouble against Ons Jabeur in her quarterfinal match Tuesday. She was unable to find the right shots against the the world No. 1 in the first set, but she eventually prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

In a top-10 quarterfinal matchup, No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz beat No. 9 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. The win sets up a top-three semifinal clash where Alcaraz will take on second-ranked Sinner.

Alcaraz reaches the semifinal for the second time in his career. Djokovic defeated then top-ranked Alcaraz in four sets in the 2023 semifinal en route to winning his third French Open title. A two-time major champion (2022 US Open, 2023 Wimbledon), Alcaraz will seek to advance to the French Open final for the first time.

Sinner is also seeking to advance to his first French Open final. He secured his first career Grand Slam victory with a comeback win over Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open in January.


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