Nole battles through to QFs!

Nole continues his progress through the draw in Paris.

No.1 seed and 2008 and 2011 semi-finalist, battled past world no.25 Andreas Seppi on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals of Roland Garros.

Djokovic overcame a two-sets-to-love deficit to beat the Italian 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in 4 hours and 18 minutes.

Novak started well. He broke Seppi in the second game and consolidated the break with a love service game for 3-0. The Italian started playing much better, but he has been helped immensely by an erratic display by Novak who gave him a 0-40 advantage in both fifth and ninth games, which the 28-year-old Bolzano native used, broke twice and took the opening set 6-4 in 49 minutes.

Seppi continued to hold the momentum as he got a break in the fifth game of the second set. Nole broke back in the tenth game to level at 5-5 and the set went into a tie-breaker. The Italian converted his first set point and won it 7-5 with one mini break.

Novak was twice a break up at the beginning of the third set, but he let the advantage slip away…He broke his opponent’s serve for the third time in the seventh game and finally consolidated the break for 5-3 lead. One more break saw him win the sets 6-3.

Djokovic raced into a 3-0 lead in the fourth set, but Seppi fought back to 3-all. The top-ranked Serbian managed to break once again in the 12th game to level the match.

Novak broke for a 4-2 lead in the deciding fifth set and saved a break point in the seventh game before serving out the match with a superb drive-volley for his 34th match win of the season (34-5 overall).

Speaking of his quarterfinal match with Seppi, Novak said: “I think he was a better player for the first two sets, definitely. I was very fortunate to come through this match. I was fighting. When I was two sets down, I believed I could win the match, and that’s the only positive I can really pick up from today’s match. It was one of those days where you don’t feel like anything is working really. My serve was well. But aside that, I could not get into the rhythm. I was fighting, and I think because of the fight I won the match.”

Match statistics: aces (5-6), double faults (2-4), winners (45-43), unforced errors (77-81), total points won (186-164).

Nole will take on no.5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the French Open semi-finals.

The home-crowd favourite eliminated 18th-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets 6-4, 7-6(6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4.

Djokovic and Tsonga are tied 5-5 in their head-to-heads, Nole won their last encounter in quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Photo: Getty Images

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