No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face No. 12 Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face No. 12 Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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.

He hopes to keep swinging for three more rounds at the French Open.

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 on Monday.

After falling behind, Djokovic became more aggressive, punctuating winners with lots of fist-pumping as he pulled away. He repeatedly escaped trouble with his serve, erasing 11 of the 13 break points he faced.

"It was tough today against a player who has a lot of ability, especially on clay," Djokovic told the center court crowd in French. "It wasn't easy for me, but I turned around the match. I played well after the first set, so I'm very happy."

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.

Roland Garros is the only major tournament Djokovic has yet to win, and he hopes to become the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam. The six-time major champion has said the French Open is his most important tournament this year.

Even so, Djokovic was subdued at the start of the match, his first since he learned that his first coach, Jelena Gencic, had died in Belgrade, at age 76. She mentored him for about five years, starting when Djokovic was 6.

Gradually he became more animated. The abuse of his racket when he fell behind didn't inspire an immediate turnaround, but in the second set his shots began to carry more sting, and he was quicker to pounce on balls near the net.

Djokovic avenged a straight-sets loss to Kohlschreiber in the third round at Roland Garros in 2009. The No. 1-ranked Djokovic seeks to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the Australian Open and French Open in the same year.

Djokovic's streak of consecutive major quarterfinals is the third longest among men in the Open era.

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