Djokovic advances at French Open
- Johnnie Lee
Djokovic will face Italy's world number 72 Marco Cecchinato - a shock 7-5 4-6 6-0 6-3 victor over eighth seed David Goffin - as he attempts to secure a semi-final meeting with world number two Alexander Zverev or Dominic Thiem.
While Djokovic found himself somewhat vexed by the situation, he remained in good spirits after reaching a ninth consecutive quarter-final at Roland Garros, particularly after such a hard year due to his elbow injury.
Bulgarian Dimitrov, a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has still never reached the second week at Roland Garros in eight attempts.
"I always play well at a Slam and always build my form to peak at a Slam. But I don't want to stop here", Djokovic concluded. He also needed a minor operation after making a comeback at the Australian Open in January.
"Then once you get to the second week, every match obviously has more nerves, and there's more on the line".
Greater tests than Verdasco, who had beaten Djokovic in three of their previous four meetings on clay but not since 2010, will lie ahead. In this picture, Germany's Alexander Zverev celebrates after victory over Russia's Karen Khachanov at the end of their men's singles fourth round match, on day eight of the Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 3, 2018.
He would not face 10-time champion Rafael Nadal - a rematch of the 2012 and 2014 finals - until the final.
Djokovic broke for 3-1, seeing out the decisive moments in a set where he won only three more points than his opponent.
Verdasco saved a break point in a 22-point second game and exerted huge pressure on Djokovic in a marathon third game but could not convert two break points of his own.
Cecchinato will hold few fears for Djokovic who moved up a gear against Verdasco - a unsafe opponent who has three claycourt victories over the Serb. He arrived at Roland Garros with a 10-7 record this season.
Should Fognini beat third seed Marin Cilic in the last 16 on Monday, it will be the first time Italy has had two men in the last eight since 1973.
He punched the air in delight before celebrating by wearing a white beret flung on to the court and doing his now-customary arm throw to all four sides of Chatrier.
"First week, my goal is to get to the second week", said Keys. "Now I beat David Goffin, (who) is one of the best players in the world". "But I think in the most important moments today, I just managed to play an extra shot in the court and just made him run and just made him uncomfortable", he said.