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07.06.2019 Tennis

Djokovic and Thiem ease into French Open semis

By Paul Myers - RFI
RFI/Pierre René-Worms
LISTEN JUN 7, 2019
RFI/Pierre René-Worms

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem cruised into the semi-final on Thursday following straight sets wins over Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov respectively.

Djokovic, 32, reached his ninth semi-final in Paris with a clinical dismissal of the fifth seed. Zverev, 22, disappeared from the quarter-final after failing to serve out the opening set.

From 5-4 up, the German lost six consecutive games allowing Djokovic to collect the first set 7-5 and take a 3-0 lead in the second. Though Zverev ended the sequence to trail 1-3, Djokovic surged again to pocket the second 6-2. 

An air of inevitability hung over the third which Djokovic also claimed 6-2.

“I really thought that the first set should have gone my way,” said Zverev. “And then once he's in control, he's very tough to beat. He's world number one for a reason. Once he gets up on you, he doesn't let go. When he's up in the score, he's unplayable.”

The Serb, who is seeking a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title, will face the fourth seed Dominic Thiem. The Austrian outwitted Khachanov 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 47 minutes to reach his fourth consecutive semi-final.

“I'm happy with the way I am playing," said Thiem after beating the 10th seeded Russian. "But against Novak I will step on the court, try everything and, of course, give everything. But the challenge is huge. Novak is in very good shape again, probably playing his best tennis of his life.”

The other men's semi-final will be the 39th confrontation between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal, the second seed and defending champion, leads the series 23-15.

Federer has to travel back to 2009 to recall his last victory over the Spaniard on clay. The 37-year-old Swiss has never overcome Nadal in five meetings at the French Open.

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