Austrian Thiem ousts Djokovic for Nadal test

Ross Houston
June 8, 2017

Men's singles defending champion Novak Djokovic failed to make into the semifinals as he lost to Austrian promising star Dominic Thiem, while women's No. 3 seed Simona Halep took on a historic comeback to secure her place in last four at the 2017 French Open here on Wednesday.

He is yet to drop a set at this year's tournament, but he admitted "it doesn't get any easier" with Rafael Nadal waiting in the semis, fresh after Pablo Carrena Busta's injury withdrawal in their quarter-final.

On Wednesday, Murray came through in four sets (2-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-1) to beat eighth seed Kei Nishikori in the quarter-final to set up a semi-final clash against Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open victor.

The result was all the more remarkable as in five previous matches with the 23-year-old he had lost one set and last month thrashed him 6-1 6-0 in Rome - a result that suggested Djokovic had found his mojo, missing since he won the French a year ago. Halep came all the way back from a set and 5-1 down in the second to defeat Elina Svitolina 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0. Murray will meet 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka for a spot in Sunday's final.

Djokovic held two set points in the opener but couldn't convert either, then lost that in a tiebreaker 7-6 (5).

"I have never had any issues with him before", Murray said.

If Pliskova ousts Halep on Thursday, the Czech will replace Angelique Kerber as the women's No. 1.

More than the scoreline, it was the manner in which Djokovic wilted in the third set that will be of most concern to his legion of fans.

The first challenge for Thiem will be avoiding the sort of letdown that happened after his win over Nadal in Rome.

World number three Karolina Pliskova reached the French Open semi-finals with a 7-6 (3) 6-4 victory against Caroline Garcia, ending the French presence in the main draw on Wednesday.

Novak Djokovic said yesterday that he still has the hunger to become the best player in the world again, but did not rule out taking a break from the sport. Nadal said. "I only care that I am in the semifinals".

Thiem, though, excelled on the Parisian clay, breaking Djokovic in the third game of the first set.

He wrapped up the set in the ninth game with Djokovic managing just five winners.

The set was over in 20 minutes, with Djokovic winning just eight points, leaving the court with plenty to ponder ahead of Wimbledon next month.

"It's great for me to be in the semifinals again, to defend that", said Thiem, who had previously been 0-5 lifetime against Djokovic. From there it was all over for Djokovic, who went away with a whimper by winning a mere total of four points the entire rest of the match. It was not immediately clear what was wrong with Carreno Busta. The world number nine will be high on confidence and is expected to make things hard for Nadal, who is eyeing a historic 10th title in Paris.

Dabrowski, who is from Canada, and her Indian partner rallied to beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6, 6-2, 12-10.

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