Djokovic Survives Cerundolo Scare to Reach Q’finals

Defending champion Novak Djokovic showed his supreme powers of recovery once again to come through a five-set marathon against Francisco Cerundolo and reach the French Open quarter-finals.

Serbia’s Djokovic, 37, looked hampered by injury before winning 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 against Argentine 23rd seed Cerundolo.

For the second time in three days, the 24-time major champion fought back from a two-sets-to-one deficit.

The fourth-round match with Cerundolo started about 4pm local time on Monday, little over 36 hours after his previous contest against Lorenzo Musetti finished at 3:07am on Sunday morning.

But Djokovic still had the mental and physical resilience to win another gruelling encounter lasting four hours and 39 minutes.

The top seed broke out into a beaming smile when he sealed victory, pointing to his chest and then to the court in celebration.

“Three or four times I was points away from losing this match and thank you to my opponent,” said Djokovic.

“He deserves so much applause that’s for sure. I’m not sure how I won this match.”

It was Djokovic’s 370th victory at a Grand Slam tournament, putting him clear of his great rival Roger Federer.

Djokovic will face the winner of Norwegian seventh seed Casper Ruud, who the Serb beat in last year’s final, and American 12th seed Taylor Fritz in the last eight.

Domestic League Fever Sweeping Across Stadiums as NPFL Hits Home Stretch

As the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) hits home stretch with just four matches to end of the Nigerian topflight season, and just two points separating leaders Enugu Rangers on 61 points  from the duo Enyimba and Remo Stars on 59 points, stadiums across the country have started to experience unprecedented attendance figures, with fans flocking to support their local teams.

The title race is wide open, and the battle for a top-three finish is intensifying, promising an enthralling climax to the season. 

Enugu Rangers will host Enyimba of Aba this weekend in an oriental derby which could be a title decider. The match will air live on Beta Sports Channel 244 on StarTimes.

The iconic Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan was packed to capacity on Sunday, buzzing with the energy of passionate fans. Surprisingly, even the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium in Lagos saw a significant influx of Enugu Rangers supporters who travelled to cheer on their team, while Sporting Lagos fans filled their designated stand, creating a vibrant and electrifying atmosphere.

Beyond the on-field action, Nigerian football fans are transforming matchdays into a vibrant fiesta, overflowing with lively moments, infectious joy, and a shared passion for the beautiful game. A reminiscence of the good old days of the Nigerian topflight.

Also, those who cannot attend the games are attesting to getting improved quality of live telecasts of the matches since StarTimes took over as Broadcast partner of the NPFL. Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina, stadiums in Aba, Enugu, Jos, Kano and more are not left out with huge turnout of fans when their teams play at home.

“Fans nationwide are finding their voice in a league that belongs to them,” veteran sports analyst, Mitchell Obi said noting that “from the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina to the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan, the beautiful game in Nigeria has become more than a rallying point for the youth populace to mix and show their joy as well as a fitting opportunity for the governments to showcase the peace and progress of their cities,” he said.  

The return of fans to stadiums has transformed matchdays into a nationwide celebration of football. The vibrant colours, passionate chants, and infectious energy emanating from the stands have created an unforgettable atmosphere that is drawing in new fans and rekindling the love for the game among long-time supporters.

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