Tuesday 25 June 2019

Dominic Thiem through to the French Open final after shock win over Novak Djokovic

Austria's Dominic Thiem celebrates after his semifinal match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Austria's Dominic Thiem celebrates after his semifinal match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Eleanor Crooks

Dominic Thiem produced a stunning upset over Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals to end the world number one's hopes of holding all four grand slam titles.

Djokovic had made repeating the feat, which he achieved with his first title at Roland Garros in 2016, a huge target but Thiem cemented his status as the heir apparent to Rafael Nadal on clay with a dramatic 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory.

A roller-coaster of a fifth set, which included a rain break, saw Thiem miss two match points serving at 5-3 before eventually clinching it on his third chance.

Djokovic was a lot more focused at the restart, with conditions better but still cool and breezy, forcing Thiem to string exceptional shots together just to win points.

The Austrian fourth seed, who had led 3-1 in the third set when play was called off on Friday, will take on Nadal on Sunday in a repeat of last year's final.

He was comfortably beaten in straight sets 12 months ago but is improving all the time and defeated Nadal on clay for a fourth successive season in Barcelona in April.

The 25-year-old had undoubtedly been in the ascendancy on Friday evening, with Djokovic allowing the windy conditions to get into his head.

The world number one's haste to leave the court led to speculation he had forced the tournament referee's hand in cancelling play when it was not actually raining, but officials insisted it was the stormy conditions that prompted the questionable decision.

Djokovic was a lot more focused at the restart, with conditions better but still cool and breezy, forcing Thiem to string exceptional shots together just to win points.

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