Published On: Wed, Jun 7th, 2017

Dominic Thiem overcomes Djokovic to set up French Open semifinal against Nadal

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Thiem bagels Djokovic in 3rd set to avenge loss in Rome

A year ago Novak Djokovic was rewriting history books and was like a freight train enroute to demolish Roger Federer’s all time Grand Slam record. A year later the tables have turned on the Serb who was the defending champion in Paris as his quarter finals loss 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 against an inspired Dominic Thiem means he will move out of the top 2 in the rankings for the first time since 2011.

Second Consecutive Semifinal at Roland Garros for Thiem

Dominic Thiem will be hoping to go one step further than he did last year but faces an almost next to impossible task of defeating Rafael Nadal who is gunning for a record 10th French Open title. β€œIt’s great for me to be in the semi-finals again, to defend that. And of course, I think on Friday [will be] the toughest opponent ever here in Roland Garros. 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 be the toughest match that you can imagine,” Thiem said of playing Nadal.

Thiem can take heart from the fact that he beat Nadal recently on clay and is next only to Rafa in terms of win-loss in 2017.

Thiem has a 34-12 record on the season, second only to Nadal who is now 41-6 overall in 2017.
The 23-year-old Thiem recovered from a 2-4 deficit in the first set, and saved two set points on serve at 4-5, 15/40. In a tense tie-break, Thiem held his nerve in testing conditions, clinching the 76-minute opener when Djokovic committed his 18th unforced error with a routine backhand into the net.

Thiem maintained his momentum by converting his third break point opportunity in the second game of the second set en route to a 4-1 lead. Although Djokovic fought back, stepping in on his return of serve, he could not reclaim the break as Thiem saved one chance at 4-2, 30/40 with a forehand winner down the line.

From a 5-3 lead in the second set, Thiem won seven straight games as Djokovic’s backhand began to falter. β€œI think there [were] some key points in the match. 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,” Thiem said.

100-2: Rafael Nadal’s streak in Paris

Nadal, Thiem’s semi-final opponent, has now raked up 100 wins against just 2 losses in best-of-five sets clay-court matches after reaching his 25th major semi-final with victory over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who retired due to injury early in the second set.

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