Cecchinato on cloud nine in Paris two years after match-fixing ban
Marco Cecchinato was in the depths of despair when he was hit with a match-fixing ban two years ago but, having been subsequently cleared, the Italian outsider is living the dream in Paris.
Cecchinato had never won a grand slam singles match heading into the French Open, but he will play Novak Djokovic at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old's career hit the rocks when he was suspended for 18 months after being found guilty of match-fixing during a Moroccan Challenger event in 2015.
Cecchinato successfully appealed against his punishment, however, and has made impressive strides since.
The unheralded Sicilian won his first singles title on the ATP Tour at the Hungarian Open in April, but came into the second major of the year on the back of a first-round defeat to compatriot Andreas Seppi in Geneva.
World number 72 Cecchinato was certainly not billed as a potential surprise package on his favourite surface at Roland Garros, where he had failed to qualify in three of four attempts.
He was unable to make it out of qualifying in the last two majors as well, but finally got a grand slam victory by squeezing past Marius Copil 10-8 in the fifth set in round one at Roland Garros.
And Cecchinato is still standing in the second week after shocking David Goffin 7-5 4-6 6-0 6-3 on a glorious Sunday in the French capital.
"This is the best moment of my life. Maybe [it] is a dream, because now I'm very, very happy for this match." Cecchinato said after dispatching the eighth seed.
All the pressure will be on 12-time grand slam champion Djokovic in an unlikely last-eight showdown and Cecchinato can savour such a momentous occasion.