Novak Djokovic can move one step closer to defending his title with another victory in the quarter finals of the French Open on Tuesday. With it almost a certainty that the scorching hot Rafael Nadal is waiting in the semi finals, the Serbian must see off the threat of the No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem to get there. Check out the Djokovic vs Thiem Head to Head stats.
After avoiding disaster in the previous round against Diego Schwartzman, Djokovic had an easier time in round 4 against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. However, he didn’t have it all his own way in the early going – falling down a break twice. After fighting back to take the first set on a tiebreak, it was pretty routine for World No.2 as the threat of the Spaniard faltered from there on. “I thought especially in the second I did things very well from back of the court. I mixed it up and didn’t give him any comfort zone on the court. I always made him guess, which was one of the keys.” he said post match.
Thiem has established himself as a contender over the past year and once more stated his credentials by being the one to end Rafael Nadal’s winning streak prior to this tournament. He has made light work of a fairly comfortable slam draw so far, winning all 4 matches in straight sets and more impressively only losing 4 games in a set in 3 of 12. Djokovic is going to be a completely different animal compared to the likes of Steve Johnson and the fact that Thiem won just 1 game in their last meeting will not fill the Austrian with confidence.
However, Djokovic is far from complacent coming into the match despite that Rome matchup. “I’m sure he’s going to be as motivated as ever, so I expect him to come out and really play his best. I’m going to be ready for that.” He said. “But its different conditions, it’s best of five, it’s a Grand Slam. Knowing that I have beaten him a couple of times on clay gives me that confidence, and hopefully I’ll be able to do the same.”
Djokovic was a 6-2 6-1 6-4 winner at the semi final stage last year but Thiem has added an extra dimension to his game in the past year once more. Whether that is enough to defeat Djokovic this time round is doubtful but it could at least be a contest this time round. The Serbian will be hoping that’s not the case with what’s in store for the winner of this match.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in four sets