Verdasco saved four set points in the opener on his way to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4 triumph, with Dimitrov - knocked out in the third round for a second successive year - declaring afterwards he will be taking a break from the sport. I mean, he was better player in the third set, for example, and it was supposed to go his way. he was serving for it.
One of the key points in the match arrived in the second set tie break, when Djokovic repeatedly slammed his racket into the clay in frustration, before 13th seed Bautista Agut took the set and levelled the match. "The fourth set was the best performance I have had in the tournament", Djokovic, who next plays Spanish left-hander Fernando Verdasco, said.
12-times Grand Slam victor Djokovic looked back to some of his best form in recent times, and certainly looks a better player than his seeding of 20 in the French capital as he reached his first major quarter-final since Wimbledon 11 months ago.
Verdasco gave the 12-times Grand Slam champion tricky moments early on but it was the slippery Court Phillipe Chatrier clay that raised Djokovic's hackles.
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Djokovic's last grand-slam title, his 12th, came two years ago in Paris. A furious Djokovic lost his temper when he missed a simple forehand, breaking his racquet by hammering it three times into the ground, drawing whistles from the crowd as he went to grab a new one. In these kind of circumstances, sometimes emotions get the worst out of you, or the best out of you.
'That's the thing I've been doing since a lot of years.
"I'm very happy about being in the quarter-finals here going the hard way, going the long distance every single time and, you know, showing myself, showing everybody that I can play for as long as I need to".
The Belgian faced more break points in the fourth game of the second set but managed to see them off and after receiving treatment on a sore elbow, he broke for 4-3 before leveling the match.
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It was anticipated the Spaniard would provide a sterner challenge to Djokovic than any of the Serb's previous opponents and his fighting spirit - not to mention his all-round game - troubled his decorated rival.
The 30-year-old said he wanted to play to take his mind off his loss.
The Bosnian's touch was phenomenal and saw him turn the match on its head after Zverev had hit 10 winners as he won the opening set.
Verdasco has now reached the fourth round at Roland Garros seven times, but he has yet to progress any further.
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