THIRD seed Novak Djokovic squandered a two-set lead before crashing out in the quarter-finals to Austria’s Jurgen Melzer on another great day for underdogs at Roland Garros.
Former Australian Open champion Djokovic looked to be cruising against Melzer only to collapse dramatically in an epic tussle that the 22nd seed won 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
Victory swept Melzer, who has only two ATP Tour titles to his name, into his first ever Grand Slam semi-final, where the 29-year-old will face four-time winner and world No2 Rafael Nadal, who beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
The surprise result came just 24 hours after Roger Federer had suffered a shock defeat to Sweden’s Robin Soderling, ending the world No1’s sequence of reaching the last four at 23 consecutive Grand Slams.
And it arrived on the same day that women’s world No1 Serena Williams became Australian Sam Stosur’s second major scalp at this year’s French Open. Williams, the top seed in the women’s draw, looked out of sorts as she fell to Stosur 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 8-6 on Court Philppe Chatrier.
Stosur, fresh from beating Justine Henin, a four-time champion in Paris before her short-lived retirement, took advantage of her opponent’s inconsistency to take the first set.
Williams, a Grand Slam winner on 12 occasions, fought back to level the match and even earned a match point, but could not convert it and the seventh seed eventually clinched a famous triumph with her own fourth match point.
FRENCH OPEN 2010 | SEMI-FINAL DRAWS
Robin Soderling (Swe) (5) v Tomas Berdych (Cze) (15)
Jurgen Melzer (Aut) (22) v Rafael Nadal (Spa) (2)
Samantha Stosur (Aus) (7) v Jelena Jankovic (Ser) (4)
Francesca Schiavone (Ita) (17) v Elena Dementieva (Rus) (5)