Millennium Post

Down and out!

World No. 7 Dominic Thiem knocks out Novak Djokovic, enters semi-final with resounding 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 win

Dominic Thiem stunned defending champion Novak Djokovic to set up a French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

Thiem showed why he is one of the most exciting young talents in the game, blasting 38 winners in a stunning 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 6-0 victory.

But Djokovic looked a shadow of the player who won here 12 months ago to become the first man since 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. The Serbian virtually gave up in the third set in what was a shocking end to his title defence.

The result was all the more remarkable given Thiem won just a single game the last time they met at the Italian Open in Rome three weeks ago. He had only won one set in all their five previous meetings and lost easily to Djokovic here in the last four 12 months ago. But that was a very different Djokovic. Even if it was clear something was still missing during his earlier rounds, no one would

have expected the match to go quite like this. Djokovic led 4-2 in what was a brutally physical first set lasting 73 minutes but played a poor game to hand Thiem the break back, serving two double faults. Djokovic then had two chances to take the set at 15-40 on Thiem's serve in the 10th game but the 23-year-old saved them both in convincing fashion. Thiem was showing all his

considerable skills, flashing backhand winners down the line and punishing Djokovic with his heavy forehand. He quickly moved 3-0 ahead in the second set and, although Djokovic initially showed some fight, it soon drained away. The final set was the first time Djokovic has lost a set to love at a Grand Slam since the US Open in 2005. Nadal moved into a 10th French Open semi-final after opponent Pablo Carreno Busta retired. Carreno Busta received treatment for an abdominal problem at the end of the first set before calling it a day with Nadal leading 6-2, 2-0. Nadal will face Dominic Thiem next.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep battled back to beat Elina Svitolina 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 in the French Open quarter-finals. Third seed Halep looked to be heading out after going a set and 5-1 down.

But the Romanian won five consecutive games and then saved match point to take it to a decider, which she finished off with ease. Halep will play Karolina Pliskova in the last four, after the world number three beat Caroline Garcia 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in Wednesday's other quarter-final.

Bopanna-Dabrowski in maiden mixed doubles final

India's Rohan Bopanna and Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski advanced to the final of the mixed doubles at the French Open after registering a 7-5, 6-3 win against the third-seeded pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Bopanna and Dabrowski had earlier defeated Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

Bopanna is the sole Indian player still in title contention at Roland Garros — defending champions Leander Paes/Martina Hingis were upset in the first round, while last year's finalists Sania Mirza/Ivan Dodig were ousted in the quarter-finals by Bopanna/Dabrowski themselves; Mirza's women's doubles campaign ended in the first round; Paes and Bopanna, playing with their respective partners, were knocked out of men's doubles in the second and third round, respectively. Purav Raja and Divij Sharan also fell in the third round. Both Bopanna and Dabrowski have had recent success. In April, the Canadian won the Miami Open women's doubles title, while Bopanna won the men's doubles on the clay of Monte Carlo.
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