The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 3, 2013

Djokovic rallies past Kohlschreiber at French Open

— PARIS (AP) — In the first set, Novak Djokovic angrily busted his racket. At the end, he happily threw a punch at the red clay he's so eager to conquer.

Mostly he tried to keep his emotions in check Monday at the French Open while grieving the death of his childhood coach.

Djokovic lost a set for the first time in the tournament, then rallied to reach his 16th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal also advanced, celebrating his 27th birthday by beating Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Afterward the center court crowd serenaded Nadal with "Joyeux Anniversaire" — "Happy Birthday" — and he was presented with an enormous cake.

Djokovic's celebration was more tempered. He played for the first time since learning that his first coach, Jelena Gencic, had died in Belgrade at age 76.

She mentored him for about five years, starting when he was 6.

"I feel even more responsible now to go all the way in this tournament," he said. "I want to do it for her, also, because she was a very special person in my life."

He recalled his grandfather's death, when Djokovic was in the midst of a tournament and went on to lose in the final.

"The experience that I had with my grandfather's passing away last year helped me a little bit to kind of stay tough this time," he said, "because it took me a long time last year to recover. It was very emotional.

"I'm handling it better. I'm trying to focus my thoughts on the nicest memories."

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic will next play 35-year-old Tommy Haas, who became the oldest French Open men's quarterfinalist since 1971 by beating Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. Haas is also the oldest man to reach the quarters at any major event since Andre Agassi at the 2005 U.S. Open.

Text Only
Sports
Poll

What is your favorite Easter candy?

Chocolate bunnies
Marshmallow chicks
Chocolate eggs with filling
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee