Thiem stuns Djokovic to reach French Open final against Nadal

Ross Houston
June 9, 2019

Spain's Rafael Nadal (R) hugs Switzerland's Roger Federer (L) after winning their men's singles semi-final match on day 13 of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 7, 2019. Nadal, who beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals Friday, defeated Thiem in straight sets previous year for his 11th French Open title.

The Spaniard first tasted glory in the final on the hallowed Roland-Garros courts in 2005, and has won 11 of the last 14 titles there.

A tally of just nine games meant it was Federer's heaviest defeat in a Grand Slam match since managing only four against Nadal in their famously one-sided 2008 Roland Garros final.

World number one Djokovic recovered to take the fourth set but slipped 4-1 down in the decider and saved a point to avoid trailing 5-1 before another hour-long rain break.

The third seed now has an stunning 92-2 win-loss record on the Paris clay, having beaten Federer for the sixth time in as many French Open meetings despite hard, windy conditions.

Now the "King of Clay" awaits Thiem, who will hope to avoid a repeat of his fate in last year's final when Nadal saw him off in straight sets.

She is the first teenager to reach the French Open final since Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in 2007.

"I think it's really important that I go into the match with the belief to win", he said.

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

After the match was controversially held over from Friday, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem were forced off again on Saturday.

But Thiem, playing in the first five-set match of his career, stood tall, even after squandering two match points.

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

"To be in the semi-finals with the three best players of all time (Nadal beat Roger Federer in the other semi on Friday) is really wonderful".

"So I'm not going to be exhausted". As it transpired the tournament was hasty in doing so, because the rain did not come and they could have come back out and played on for around an hour.

"I'll leave everything on the court".

Djokovic could have been lining up on the opposite half this afternoon had it not been for the brilliance of Thiem. "It's big dream for me to win on Sunday. But I also have it in my head that if it does not happen tomorrow - which can happen easily because of the opponent on the other side of the net - I don't make myself too much pressure".

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