Thursday 23 November 2017

Djokovic set to take break after defeat

Djokovic: Knocked out. Photo: Reuters
Djokovic: Knocked out. Photo: Reuters

Samuel Lovett

Novak Djokovic has suggested he may take a break from tennis after his surprise straight-sets defeat against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the French Open - a result which will see the Serbian drop out of the top two in the world rankings for the first time since 2011.

The defending champion was stunned as he was swept aside by the young Austrian in a 7-6 6-3 6-0 defeat, marking the latest setback in what has been a disappointing year for the 30-year-old.

After lifting his first title at Roland Garros last year, to become the first man in 47 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles, Djokovic has struggled for form and results on all courts.

The Serbian has suffered a number of surprise defeats this season, notably losing to world No 117 Denis Istomin in the round of 64 at the Australian Open. And now, speaking in the wake of yesterday's upset, Djokovic admitted he remains unsure of his future. When asked if he was considering taking a break from the sport, his answer was non-committal.

"You know, I'm just trying to sense what's the best thing for me now," he said. "Obviously there has been a lot of changes with the team and so forth.

"At the same time, I have responsibility to the game itself, towards others. We'll see. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make, but I will see how I feel, anyway, after Roland Garros."

Thiem now takes on Rafa Nadal, whose quest for a 10th title continued after opponent Pablo Carreno Busta retired in the second set. World No 1 Andy Murray shrugged off a sluggish start to reach his fifth semi-final with a 2-6 6-1 7-6(0) 6-1 defeat of Japan's Kei Nishikori and now faces Stan Wawrinka, who brushed aside Marin Cilic in straight sets.

In the women's draw, Simona Halep mounted a remarkable recovery from a set and 5-1 down against Elina Svitolina to reach the semi-finals.

Title favourite Halep was being overpowered before turning things around to win the match 3-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-0.

She faces Karolina Pliskova in the semi-final who raised her game to overcome Carolina Garcia and has the extra carrot of knowing that victory over Halep would see her overtake Angelique Kerber as world No 1.

French Open,

Live, ITV4/Eurosport 1, 11.0

Irish Independent

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