He then squandered three set points in the second and went on to fall further behind as the 72nd-ranked Italian won the tie-break.
Novak Djokovic's neck was bothering him.
Seventh seed Dominic Thiem muscled his way into the fourth round of the French Open, putting out Italian claycourt specialist Marco Berrettini 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-2 to set up a tie with Nishikori.
Djokovic, who was sitting in a small press room without mics and just in front of a few journalists (most of them were waiting in the main press room), said he doesn't know whether if he will play Wimbledon next month.
"I was a bit unlucky not to capitalize on the second set", said Djokovic, who improved to 7-1 against Bautista Agut.
Leonid Bershidsky: Russian journalist lives to tell the tale of his murder
This was in part because several prominent Russian journalists critical of Putin's policies have been murdered in recent years. Babchenko served in the Russian army and fought during the first separatist war in Chechnya during the 1990s.
"I had a lot of courage, especially toward the end of the tiebreaker", Cecchinato said. As his backhand return on his fourth match point landed beyond the outstretched arm of Djokovic, the tears flowed.
Speaking after his shock victory, Cecchinato said: "Are you sure [I won]?" Eventually, the Italian Olympic Committee announced that sanctions were dropped on a technicality.
The clay courts of Roland Garros host the second Grand Slam of the season.
His Roland Garros marathon also left him physically drained - he needed his left thigh strapped in the second set.
After his four sets loss to Marco Cecchinato at the French Open, Novak Djokovic revealed a possibly shocking news that could happen in the next weeks. The 72nd-ranked player beat Djokovic in a 3-hour, 26-minute match that ended in a tiebreak, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11).
Pochettino leads race to replace Zidane at Madrid
Wenger also explained his decision to reject offers to become Real Madrid's head coach on more than one occasion. A year later he led Real to their first European Cup and La Liga double in 59 years.
Her next outing will be a battle of wills against compatriot and friend Stephens, who has emerged victorious in both of their previous meetings as professionals, most recently beating Keys in the final of last year's U.S. Open.
And Djokovic woke up, blazing through the third set as Cecchinato looked out of sorts.
Djokovic, who missed the last half of 2017 with right elbow trouble and had surgery in February, is clearly not at the height of his power. Indeed, his seeding of No. 20 was his lowest at any Grand Slam tournament in a dozen years.
Novak Djokovic has crashed out of the French Open and cast doubt over whether he will play at Wimbledon.
Judge: June 15 deadline in study of materials in Cohen raids
The June 15 deadline to review documents seized from Cohen was a month sooner than Cohen's lawyers had wanted. District Judge Kimba Wood said a special taint team of prosecutors will make determinations after that date.
Nothing should be taken away from Thiem's victory, however, after he carved an easier route to the quarters and is rewarded for his work with a spot in the final four, where he'll face Cecchinato.