While the women’s semi-finals contain 3 new names and a rare visitor, the men’s semi-finals contain the same old with the top 4 seeds living up to their placing. Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem face off in the second semi-final following Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s match earlier in the day on Philippe Chatrier.
Having been outhit in their only meeting prior, Thiem may have been wary before taking to the court against Karen Khachanov. However, there was little to be worried about as he outplayed the Russian – going on to win 6-2 6-4 6-2. He was never troubled and didn’t face a single break point, a much improved performance after dropping a set to several weaker players earlier in the tournament. The 2018 losing finalist came into the tournament with the reputation as the best of the rest and has delivered by making it to at least the semi finals as fourth seed. “I think every match I got better and better, first two opponents were very tough because they also didn’t give any rhythm, and they didn’t have anything to lose. So these were two very tough matches. From the third round on, it got a lot better. And for sure the match against Gael [Monfils] and also today was very good. I’m happy with the way I’m playing.” Thiem said, summarising his run so far.
Djokovic was troubled early on by Alexander Zverev but was in control after seizing the first set with a late comeback, eventually coming out on top 7-5 6-2 6-2. He is now at 26 wins in a row and counting at grand slams, moving ever closer to holding all four slams at the same time for the second occasion.
“I will step on the court tomorrow, try everything, of course, [and] give everything. I hope it’s going to be positive in the end, but the challenge is huge. Novak is in very good shape again, probably playing the best tennis of his life. I’m in the semi-finals with maybe the three best players of all time, so everybody can see how tough the way it is for me.” Thiem noted, explaining the size of the task he faces. Beating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal back to back in five sets on clay is a feat that is nigh-on impossible but if anyone has the game to do so, it is the Austrian. He is 2-6 against Djokovic but both of those wins come on clay, although their last meeting went the way of the Serbian in straight sets in Madrid.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in 5 sets