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Injured Djokovic wins record 370th Grand Slam match

Ian MacNicol / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Novak Djokovic needed more than four hours, a handful of anti-inflammatories, and multiple medical timeouts to make history Monday, beating 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo in the French Open round of 16 for his 370th Grand Slam match win.

The top-ranked Serb stands alone after surpassing Roger Federer on the all-time list of major singles victories in the Open Era.

Djokovic's right knee bothered him throughout the match, and he tumbled hard when chasing a return in the fifth set, but somehow, the 37-year-old summoned the energy to avoid his earliest exit from the French Open since 2009 and win 6-1, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Most Grand Slam singles match wins

Player Match Wins
Novak Djokovic 370
Roger Federer 369
Serena Williams 367
Rafael Nadal 314
Martina Navratilova 306

But the knee kept him from appearing in a record 59th Grand Slam quarterfinal Wednesday against No. 7 Casper Ruud, who eliminated top-ranked American Taylor Fritz in four sets. An MRI scan revealed Djokovic has a medial meniscus tear, and it's unclear if he'll recover in time for the start of Wimbledon on July 1.

The win came less than 48 hours after Djokovic survived a five-setter against No. 30 Lorenzo Musetti that finished after 3 a.m., the latest any match at the French Open has ever ended. It meant he had spent more than nine hours on the court across the two matches.

The first set Monday was straightforward enough, but trouble brewed when Djokovic began to favor his knee down 2-1 in the second set. He complained about the surface during one of his timeouts, telling tournament supervisor Wayne McEwen that the court needed more sweeping. When he slipped in the fifth set, he directed sarcastic remarks to McEwen, yelling out loud, "Well done, supervisor and everybody. Not slippery at all."

Though Cerundolo won some incredible rallies, it took him 13 tries to finally convert a break point and take the second set.

As he did against Musetti, Djokovic found himself a 2-1 hole but rallied with the fighting spirit that has long defined his career. His knee didn't seem to mind when he nearly did the splits to win a point, and he earned a key break on set point to take the fourth.

A familiar script played out after that.

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