Dominic Thiem took advantage of Alexander Zverev's depleted stamina to become the first qualifier for the men's semi-finals, beating the German 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 as the difference in court time at the competition told the story.
The smash to end it wasn't his only one of the match.
When pressed on whether that meant he would not play at Wimbledon, the 31-year-old Serb was non-committal.
Cecchinato won on his fourth match point by hitting a backhand victor down the line as Djokovic tried to serve and volley.
"Just a pity that I couldn't capitalise on the chances in the 4-1 in the fourth set and some break points".
Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov was knocked out of tennis' French Open in the third round by Fernando Verdasco on Friday (June 1), with the Spaniard winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4. For me to beat Djokovic in a quarter-final at Roland Garros it's incredible.
The storm seemed to have blown itself out and Djokovic served for the fourth set at 5-3.
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Thiem, who lost in the semis to Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal previous year, said he is now better-equipped to go all the way.
German second seed Zverev simply ran out of gas, paying a heavy price for needing three successive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Keys had always struggled on clay before this year, but has now reached the last eight at all four Grand Slams after impressively cruising through the draw without dropping a set.
But he didn't seem to be, you know, under impression of the big stadium or big match. I lost to him earlier this year I think in a tight match.
Djokovic has been superb to this point at Roland-Garros, most recently defeating the streaking Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday.
Cecchinato struggled to comprehend his triumph, coming just two years after his career was nearly derailed when he became embroiled in match-fixing allegations. This will be Zverev's first quarterfinal match in a Grand Slam, so Thiem edges him in experience.
Even as he conceded the second set, Djokovic managed to regain his composure as he went on to pull off a 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-2 win over Agut in an intriguing third-round battle.