Djokovic is so hot he’s already in the French Open semifinals

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

How much of a hot streak is Novak Djokovic on right now? The fourth round of the French Open isn't yet complete and he's already advanced to the semifinals.

Djokovic's quarterfinal opponent, Fabio Fognini, withdrew from the tournament Monday, one day after his wild and controversial 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 victory over Albert Montanes. The win advanced Djokovic into the French semis before players like Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray had yet to play their fourth-round matches.

He will play next on Friday against either Roger Federer, Gael Monfils or David Ferrer. That will give him four full days off in between matches.

During his match Sunday, the Italian took an illegal cramping break that was heavily criticized by fellow players, saved five match points and closed out the victory playing on one leg.

"I'm not really happy right now," said the 24-year-old. "It's the best tournament of my career. The doctors say if I play on Tuesday maybe it can be dangerous."

Fognini is getting bashed in the press, most notably by The Tennis Channel's Mary Carillo, who suggested that Fognini should have either played or retired during his match against Montanes so somebody would have had the chance to play in the French quarters. It's a delicate issue. You never want to analyze somebody else's injury but, given these circumstances and Fognini's reputation for being a sort of tennis weasel, it's hard not to. Why retire on Monday? You have a chance to beat the hottest player in the world in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. Doesn't Fognini owe it to himself to sleep on it and see how he feels in the morning?

Because it was a walkover, the victory won't count toward Djokovic's winning streak, which reached 43 after his fourth-round win over Richard Gasquet. If he were to break the record 46-match winning streak held by Guillermo Vilas, it would have to come after the French Open.

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