Thiem ends Djokovic history bid, faces Nadal for title

Ross Houston
June 9, 2019

He will be hoping for a different result when he faces 11-times champion Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday.

Dominic Thiem has ended Novak Djokovic's 26-match winning streak at Grand Slam tournaments with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory to reach the French Open final.

"He is the best player in history and it's been a great pleasure to play against Roger".

The Swiss turned on the style to take the first two games of the second set, only to be broken straight back as Nadal curled a trademark forehand up the line.

Nadal got 82 percent of his first serves in play and saved two of his four break points.

However, the Austrian won their most recent meeting on clay in the semi-finals in Barcelona in April in straight sets.

"It was an unbelievable match".

Nadal also needed five sets to see off Thiem in the quarter-finals at the US Open a year ago.

"I believe that we have hit rock bottom but the good thing is that the only way now is up", said former women's world number one Amelie Mauresmo.

Ask the Austrian media who follow Thiem week in, week out throughout the season, and they will tell you that since his split from Bresnik, he seems to be playing with more freedom, expressing himself more on the court. "So I'm ready to leave all or everything what I have out on the court tomorrow".

The semi-final had been controversially suspended overnight Friday with Djokovic complaining about the "extreme wind" in the stadium.

Djokovic: I don't know.

"When you're playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it's hard to perform your best".

Mostly, though, because Dominic Thiem managed to outperform Djokovic at his own brand of defense-to-offense, speed-and-power baseline game.

For his pains, the Serb picked up a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct having already been slapped with a time violation.

Djokovic grabbed an early break lead in the fourth but Thiem leveled and even led 5-4.

The top seed broke again for 3-2, held for 4-2 but the dogged Thiem would not relent and brought the set back on serve at 4-4.

However, Djokovic prevailed to send the match into a decider.

Despite getting the rough side of the schedule, however, Thiem says fatigue will not be a factor as he attempts to claim his first Grand Slam title.

"An epic match. I mean, so many ups and downs".

There was one final twist as Djokovic's 53rd unforced error on a wild forehand set up a third match point which the Austrian gobbled up with his 52nd victor.

Thiem displayed fierce resolve in defeating the game's most relentless defender, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 on the red clay of Court Philippe Chatrier, where Djokovic hoisted the 2016 French Open trophy in one of the rare years that Nadal hadn't done so since his first triumph in 2005.

Victory on Sunday will move Nadal on to 18 majors, just two behind Federer on the all-time list.

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