Austria’s Dominic Thiem delivered an epic performance on Wednesday, knocking off defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 to reach the French Open semifinals.
“I think were [were] some key points in the match,” said Thiem. “The first set was very, very long and very close. Then in the second set, in the beginning, I was down love-30. I still made the game and broke him in the first service game and again broke him in his first service game in the third set.”
Djokovic jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the opening set, but Thiem controlled things from there. He saved two set points at 4-5 and forced the opening set into a tiebreaker. In a back and forth tiebreaker, it was Thiem who kept his cool and took the set on Djokovic’s 18th unforced error of the set.
He broke early in the second on his way to a 4-1 lead, and seemed to take the life away from Djokovic. Thiem was flawless in the third set, committing just two unforced errors on his way to bageling the Serb.
“All in all, it was decided I think in the first set,” said Djokovic. “I tried. I lost that crucial break in the beginning of the second, and he started serving better, backing it up with the first shot. He deserved to win. He was definitely the better play on the court today.”
Thiem earns a date with Rafael Nadal now, who advanced past Pablo Carreno-Busta on Wednesday. The nine-time champion led 6-2, 2-0 before his compatriot retired.
“It’s great for me to be in the semifinals again, to defend that. And of course, I think on Friday [it will be] the toughest opponent ever here in Roland Garros,” Thiem added. “It’s going to be the fourth match against him in five or six weeks. Not really any big secrets. He’s again in his best shape. So it’s going to be the toughest you can imagine.”
Later in the day, Stan Wawrinka blew past Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to book his spot in the semifinals. He will take on world number one Andy Murray in the final four. Murray came back from a first set defeat to beat eighth-seed Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(0), 6-1.
New York Tennis Magazine Staff
The New York Tennis Magazine Staff is comprised of tennis pros, tennis coaches and tennis writers