Cecchinato (it's pronounced cheh-key-NAH'-toe) came through on his fourth match point, looping in a backhand return victor as Djokovic tried to surprise him with a serve-and-volley attempt.
In a roller-coaster of a quarter-final, both men were warned for coaching, 2016 champion Djokovic required two medical timeouts while the Italian was docked a point for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Cecchinato won on his fourth match point by hitting a backhand victor down the line as Djokovic tried to serve and volley.
Since then, employing a smooth one-handed backhand, he has beaten players seeded No. 8 (David Goffin) and No. 10 (Pablo Carreno Busta), before adding former No. 1 Djokovic to his list.
"I know now his game and I practiced with him, I watched him play".
"It was an unbelievable, high-level match", said Zverev. For me to beat Djokovic in a quarter-final at Roland Garros it's incredible.
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. "So I'll approach it very seriously".
"He played unbelievable and credit to him". I struggled from the beginning.
"I was a bit unlucky not to capitalize on the second set", said Djokovic, who improved to 7-1 against Bautista Agut.
"For me, it's the first time semi-final grand slam".
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At the time of filming, it had only been 8 months since she gave birth to daughter , Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr . And just coming back from the physical impact of having a baby, at my age is never easy".
"First week, my goal is to get to the second week", said 23-year-old Keys.
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.
He made Djokovic pay for that failure to convert when he reeled off four successive points in the ensuing tiebreaker.
Former world number one Djokovic has dropped down the rankings to 22nd after taking time off with an elbow injury following last year's Wimbledon.
Djokovic somehow regrouped to win the third set at a canter, and a suddenly frustrated Cecchinato was hit with a point penalty.
A lack of oomph was evident in Zverev's play as he failed to break his Austrian rival in three sets and looked totally drained by the third, where he couldn't gain any traction and trailed 4-0 before slipping off the pace entirely. "Today, (that) I won this match is really incredible, reaching the semifinals I'm happy for having written a place in history".
The statistics made bleak reading for Zverev - he finished with 42 unforced errors and just 19 winners.
"I definitely thought about it, but I didn't want to pull out for the first time of my career in a Grand Slam quarter-final", said Zverev.
I can not give you any answer', stated Djokovic, who dealt with neck and calf injuries during his match.