- Ian Chadband

The Italian world No.72 becomes lowest-ranked Roland-Garros quarter-finalist in 10 years after stunning David Goffin.

Roland-Garros 2018, 8e de finale, Marco Cecchinato, ©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Marco Cecchinato, the world No.72, sprung one of the biggest upsets of Roland-Garros 2018 with a 7-5 4-6 6-0 6-3 defeat of No.8 seed David Goffin in the fourth round to reach his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.

You could be forgiven for knowing little about the Italian, who will face Novak Djokovic in the last eight following the 2016 champion's victory over Fernando Verdasco in straight sets.

Cecchinato, who claimed his first ATP title on the clay of Budapest in late April, is projected to rise to world No.42 following his stunning run in Paris. Before this fortnight he'd never before won a main-draw match at a Grand Slam event, a run that almost continued before his recovery from two sets down in his opening match against Marius Copil.



"I am very very happy," he said on court after the win. "Because first round, I was two sets to zero and now I will play the quarter-final. Today I beat David who is one of the best players in the world. So it's a dream for me."

It's been something of a charmed run for the 25-year-old, who beat road-tripping lucky loser Marco Trugelliti in the second round before ousting No.10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in round three.

"For me, playing against Novak in quarterfinal in Roland-Garros, so now I need to do treatment, and shower," he said with a laugh. "I need to think [about] these moments, because it's unbelievable for me."

So who is Marco Cecchinato? For starters, it's pronounced 'CHECK-IN-AAH-TOE'. For everything else, read on...

He’s come a long way…

At No.72 on the ATP computer, the 25-year-old is the lowest-ranked man to reach the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros for a decade since then-No.80 Ernests Gulbis did so in the 2008 edition. He started the year ranked 109 in the world but, after this week, the Italian No.3 could be No.42 and even in the top-30 if he beats Novak Djokovic in the quarters.

He came back from the brink at Roland-Garros…

In his first round match at Roland-Garros 2018, having never won a Grand Slam match before, he was two sets down to Marcus Copil before he came back to win 2-6 6-7(4) 7-5 6-2 10-8 in what was his first-ever five-set match. In the next round, he beat lucky loser Marco Trungelliti 6-1 7-6(1) 6-1 and then No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6 7-6(5) 6-3 6-1 before downing David Goffin on Sunday.

His other big breakthrough came a month ago…

Having turned professional in 2010 and now coached by Simone Vagnozzi, the man who weighs in at 78kg and stands 1.85m tall wields a mean one-handed backhand which in April helped power him to his first ATP Tour title in Budapest. He lost in the final round of qualifying at the Hungarian Open but seven days later, after being given a reprieve as a lucky loser and having never been past the semi-final before, he beat Australian John Millman in the final to claim to claim his maiden trophy. “It's amazing for me," he declared at the time. "Maybe it's a dream, I don't know."

Marco Cecchinato© Julien Crosnier / FFT
He’s a lucky soul…

Cecchinato has the number 13 tattooed on his wrist underneath his sweat band. The number 13 maybe considered unlucky across much of the world - but not in Italy where it is seen as a number that brings great fortune. Cecchinato certainly hit the jackpot here.

He’s going up after making the move from south to north…

Originally from Palermo in Sicily, the promising Cecchinato responded to the approaches of Massimo Sartori, Andreas Seppi's coach, to move to the northern part of the mainland at the age of 17. His dad Sergio saved up for him to go to Caldaro, a city located in South Tyrol, not far from the Dolomites, and the polar opposite of his Sicilian life. But after working with Sartori, he left for his current base in Bologna, another Italian tennis hot-bed that helped develop the likes of Sara Errani and Simone Bolelli.

He’s not on Twitter…

The Sicilian hasn’t got a Twitter account but he was soon to find out that he has been trending on the social media site after becoming the lowest-ranked player ever to beat the world No.9 Goffin at Roland-Garros.

He likes his football…

Cecchinato is a fan of AC Milan and it’s fair to say that, just like his club of choice, he has come on strong as the season has progressed. His Roland-Garros run comes on the back of Milan having a strong finish to their campaign to earn a Europa League place.