Marco Cecchinato looks to continue his dream French Open run on Friday afternoon, taking on Dominic Thiem for a place in the final. The Italian had not won a grand slam match before this fortnight while Thiem is aiming to make it third time lucky in a French Open semi final having lost in both of the last two years.
The Italian backed up great wins over Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin by stunning Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals. In one of the great fourth set tiebreaks, he held his nerve to finally close out the match 6-3 7-6 1-6 7-6 although he had to be thankful for an almighty Djokovic shank on one of the Serbian’s many set points. His maiden ATP title in April hinted at improvements but to beat those three players back to back was unthinkable. He played a very intelligent game throughout and was thankful for Djokovic errors at key moments.
Thiem completely outplayed Alexander Zverev in his quarter final, taking advantage of a tired opponent coming off three consecutive 5 setters. He was not broken once in the 6-4 6-2 6-1 victory, his first straight sets win in the tournament since the opening round. “It’s never easy if your opponent obviously is not 100 per cent,” said Thiem. “But he’s one of the fittest guys on tour, and even for him it’s maybe a little bit too tough to play three five-setters in the first rounds of a Slam. So I expected, somehow, that he [would be] a little bit tired, but still I’m happy how I finished the game. I let him run. I was doing what I had to do, and so I’m satisfied.”
Thiem has been provided with an amazing chance to make his first slam final and should finally end the miracle of Cecchinato. However, the Austrian is remaining cautious.”Cecchinato is full of confidence,” said Thiem. “[He is] probably the most confident player out there right now. He had never won a match at a Slam [before Roland Garros], and now… he’s in the semi-finals. So everything is going easy for him. He can play completely free.”
With suggestions Rafael Nadal is not quite at his best, he could be primed to spring a shock especially if he wins this match as quickly as expected. He already has multiple clay wins over the World No.1, a feat very few have achieved.
Prediction – Dominic Thiem in straight sets