Djokovic loses to Thiem in quarter-finals [The Nation] 08 Jun, 2017

PARIS – Defending champion Novak Djokovic is out of the French Open following a straight-sets defeat by Dominic Thiem. The Serbian second seed was second best throughout to powerful-hitting Thiem, losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-0 in Paris.It is the Austrian sixth seed’s first victory over Djokovic and he will now play Rafael Nadal in the last four. Nadal reached the semis after fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew from their match with an abdominal injury while trailing 6-2 2-0.World number one Andy Murray advanced to his fifth French Open semi-final on Wednesday, defeating Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1. Murray, who was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros last year, will meet 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka for a spot in Sunday’s final.Fourth seed Nadal is aiming to win a record 10th title at Roland Garros having become just the fifth man to reach 10 semi-finals at a single Grand Slam in the Open era. Both matches were delayed from Tuesday because of rain.In 2016, Djokovic won the French Open title to become the first man since 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Since then, the 30-year-old has lost in the third round at Wimbledon, suffered defeat in the US Open final, and lost in round two at the Australian Open. He has now failed to progress past the last eight in Paris for the first time since 2010.”The last couple of tournaments I have had some great tournaments and it was unfortunate to finish Roland Garros in this way,” said Djokovic. “This is a whole new situation for me, not winning a big tournament for eight or nine months – this hasn’t happened for a while.




All the top players have gone through that and I guess I have to learn lessons and figure how get through. It is a big challenge and I’m up for it.”He was unable to cope with the power of 23-year-old Thiem, who hit 38 winners – 20 from his dominant forehand – in total to Djokovic’s 18. The match was a total reversal of the last time the two met, when Thiem managed to win just a single game three weeks ago in Rome.Thiem demonstrated his appetite for the fight in a brutally physical first set lasting 73 minutes, which Djokovic led 4-2 but a double-fault handed a break back before three terrible backhands gave his opponent the tie-break. Djokovic’s mental and physical vulnerability was then ruthlessly exposed as Thiem took the second before emphatically sealing the third to love to take the match.It was first time Djokovic has lost a set to love at a Grand Slam since the US Open in 2005. “The third set, obviously, nothing was going my way and everything his way. It was a pretty bad set,” added Djokovic. “I think it was decided in the first set, I tried but I lost a crucial break at the start of the second set.He deserved to win, he was definitely the better player on the court.”Nishikori outdueled Murray in a five-set classic at last year’s US Open and looked capable of a repeat success as he rolled through the opening set. But Murray responded by taking the second set with ease and stormed through a third-set tie-break before finishing off a tiring Nishikori to seal a fourth successive semi-final appearance in Paris.”I needed to start putting more pace on my shots, he was dictating all the points in the first set. It was windy, so the timing was difficult, but once I was able to get into a rhythm and keep him away from the baseline, that made the difference,” said Murray.The Scot set up a semi-final rematch with third seed Wawrinka after beating the Swiss in four sets at the same stage of the tournament a year ago. “He’s played fantastic this tournament so far,” Murray said of the 32-year-old, the oldest Roland Garros semi-finalist since Jimmy Connors in 1985.”Last year I had to play one of my best matches on clay to beat him. I know it will be tough but I´ll fight as hard as I can. It hasn´t always been easy for me here, but these last few years have been great.”Agencies

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