Marco Cecchinato enjoys life-changing victory - French Open 2018

French Open casualty Grigor Dimitrov

GETTYGrigor Dimitrov was undone by clay expert Fernando Verdasco

The 25-year-old had never won a Grand Slam match before this tournament, but showed some good form when winning an ATP clay-court title in Budapest as a lucky loser earlier this year.

The Bulgarian, a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has still never reached the second week at Roland Garros in eight attempts.

His opponent, however, was the stronger in an epic fourth-set tiebreak, prevailing on his fourth match point.

Djokovic won the tournament in 2011, 2014 and 2015 but has failed to make it beyond the quarter-finals in the past two years.

However, Verdasco held his nerve under intense pressure, saving all four set points at 5-6, one of them with a second-serve ace that flew down the middle.

As his backhand return on his fourth match point landed beyond the outstretched arm of Djokovic, the tears flowed. "So after Roland Garros, I need some rest and to realize the moment, and we will see my life", the world number 72, the lowest-ranked player to reach this stage at Roland Garros since Andrei Medvedev in 1999, told reporters.

'But even so, I still had some time to kind of get into a rhythm, get into a different match, and just didn't happen.

After a good start where he reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and the last-eight in Barcelona, he lost back-to-back matches in Madrid and Rome. What can I say? "It's fantastic", he said.

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Keys, the US Open runner-up to Stephens previous year, will face Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva for a place in the semi-finals, after the world number 98 saw off Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-3.

The 20th seed reached the last 16 - where he will face Fernando Verdasco - at Roland Garros for the 12th time in his career after triumphing 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 on Suzanne Lenglen.

Like her compatriot and good friend Keys, US Open champion Stephens is in the quarter-finals for the first time and hoping to set up a repeat of last year's final in NY.

"I definitely thought about it, but I didn't want to pull out for the first time of my career in a Grand Slam quarter-final", said Zverev.

"It was the best moment of my life", Cecchinato said. "Now I beat David Goffin, (who) is one of the best players in the world". "It's incredible", said the 25-year-old Cecchinato. "So it's going to be an awesome challenge for me".

Zverev, considered among a select few capable of dethroning defending champion and French Open king Rafael Nadal, had to do it the hard way as he was on the right side of a 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 scoreline.

"How? I mean, we'll figure [it out]".

Stephens, the 10th seed, had previously made the fourth round for four successive seasons and will next play either Australian Open champion and second seed Caroline Wozniacki or Russia's Daria Kasatkina.

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