French Open 2019: Djokovic, Thiem, Anisimova, Barty reach semis

French Open live: Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Madison Keys, Simona Halep and Amanda Anisimova play their quarterfinal matches on Thursday.

Amanda Anisimova reacts after beating Simona Halep in their quarterfinal match.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's LIVE blog of the 2019 French Open quarterfinals.

 

8:23pm: So the top four seeds in the men's singles draw are into the semifinals. That's the first time this has happened at a Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open.

2013 Australian Open: 1) Novak Djokovic, 2) Roger Federer, 3) Andy Murray, 4) David Ferrer.

2019 French Open: 1) Novak Djokovic, 2) Rafael Nadal, 3) Roger Federer, 4) Dominic Thiem.

Meanwhile, the women's singles has four first-time Roland-Garros semifinalists, three of whom are first-time Grand Slam semifinalists.

Here's the line-up for Friday:

2:30pm: Ashleigh Barty (8) vs Amanda Anisimova

2:30pm: Joanna Konta (26) vs Marketa Vondrousova

4:20pm: Rafael Nadal (2) vs Roger Federer (3)

TBD: Novak Djokovic (1) vs Dominic Thiem (4)

8:21pm: Novak Djokovic reaches his ninth Roland-Garros semifinal. He beats Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes.

Novak DjokovicPlayerAlexander Zverev
1Aces10
4Double faults8
63%First serve69%
80%Win on 1st serve65%
51%Win on 2nd serve34%
13/18Net points won12/26
6/11Break points won1/8
37/84Receiving points won26/86
24Winners35
18Unforced errors40
97Total points won73

 

8:20pm: Djokovic has two match points on Zverev's serve. Zverev saves the first with an ace.

8:17pm: Djokovic holds serve and leads Zverev 7-5, 6-2, 5-2.

8:15pm: Djokovic saves both break points.

8:14pm: Zverev has two break points now. He chases down the ball after a netcord and picks Djokovic's return right.

8:11pm: Djokovic gets a break point and Zverev sends a soft return into the net. The world No. 1 leads 7-5, 6-2, 4-2.

7:59pm: Dominic Thiem beats Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Dominic ThiemPlayerKaren Khachanov
3Aces5
3Double faults4
63%First serve67%
80%Win on 1st serve61%
62%Win on 2nd serve44%
9/11Net points won11/17
5/8Break points won0/0
37/84Receiving points won19/73
29Winners17
12Unforced errors37
91Total points won66

 

7:55pm: Thiem break Khachanov and will serve for a place in the semifinals for the fourth straight year.

7:53pm: Dominic Thiem holds serve to lead Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-4, 4-2.

Djokovic holds serve to begin the third set.

7:52pm: Djokovic saves a second break point.

7:51pm: Zverev has a break point in the first game of the third set. Djokovic saves it.

7:48pm: Thiem has two break points to go two sets and a break ahead. Khachanov saves one. Thiem converts the second.

 

7:41pm: Zverev serves at 5-2. He hits a forehand wide and that's set point to Djokovic.

He saves one, but not the next one. Djokovic takes the second set 6-2.

7:29pm: Another easy hold for Djokovic. He leads the second set 4-1.

7:27pm: Thiem wins the second set. He leads Khachanov 6-2, 6-4.

 

7:26pm: Zverev holds serve. Djokovic leads 7-5, 3-1.

7:24pm: Djokovic has break point. Zverev saves it.

7:22pm: Thiem breaks Khachanov and will serve for a two-sets-to-one lead.

7:19pm: Djokovic holds to love to lead 3-0 in the second.

7:17pm: A second double fault of the game gives Djokovic a 2-0 in the second set. That four games in a row after being broken by Zverev.

Meanwhile, Thiem leads Khachanov 6-2, 4-4.

7:16pm: Two insane retrieves from Djokovic and a backhand right down the line gives him two break points. Zverev really should have put that first lob away.

7:13pm: Djokovic holds to love to begin the second set. The frustration is showing on Zverev's face.

7:08pm: Djokovic has a third set point. That's all he needs. The world No. 1 wins the first set 7-5 against Zverev.

Zverev was far more aggressive in the opening set, but Djokovic won it doing what he does best: retrieving the ball and keeping it within the lines.

Meanwhile, Thiem leads Khachanov 6-2, 2-3.

7:07pm: Zverev saves the first. And the second.

7:06pm: Djokovic has two set points on Zverev's serve.

7:03pm: Djokovic holds serve for 6-5.

Thiem leads Khachanov 6-2, 2-2.

6:59pm: Djokovic breaks back Zverev. It's 5-all in the first set.

6:58pm: Break point for Djokovic.

6:53pm: Sascha Zverev wins a 24-shot rally to break Novak Djokovic. He'll serve for the opening set at 5-4.

Thiem holds serve to lead Khachanov 6-2, 1-1.

6:52pm: A fourth break point of the match for Zverev.

6:49pm: Zverev holds for the loss of a single point. It's 4-all.

Khachanov holds serve to begin the second set against Thiem.

6:44pm: Dominic Thiem wins the first set 6-2 against Karen Khachanov.

6:43pm: Djokovic finally has an easy service game. He leads Zverev 4-3.

6:40pm: Khachanov goes 40-love on his serve, then loses five straight points. Thiem to serve for the opening set at 5-2.

Meanwhile, Zverev holds easily for 3-3 against Djokovic.

6:36pm: Zverev is the aggressor here. With the advantage in the rally, he sends the 23rd shot into the net. Another close game. Djokovic holds for 3-2.

A hold to love for Thiem, who leads Khachanov 4-2.

6:35pm: Zverev has another break point. That's his third for the match. And he sends a backhand down the line long. Deuce.

6:32pm: Khachanov serves to love. He trails Thiem 2-3.

Djokovic digs himself out of trouble. From 0-30, it's 30-all.

6:30pm: An easy service game for Zverev. It's 2-all against Djokovic.

Thiem holds serve for a 3-1 lead over Khachanov.

6:26pm: Djokovic holds for 2-1.

Meanwhile, Khachanov lands an ace to save one break point. But Thiem converts the second to go ahead early in the match at 2-1.

6:25pm: Djokovic challenges a Zverev backhand that seemed to touch the edge of the sideline. The world No. 1 is right. Deuce.

6:23pm: Djokovic saves the first.

6:22pm: An 18-shot rally ends with Zverev holding two break points!

6:20pm: Djokovic-Zverev is 1-1.

6:11pm: The Dominic Thiem-Karen Khachanov quarterfinal is underway on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. Khachanov to serve.

The tall Russian beat Thiem in their only previous meeting, at the 2018 Paris Masters. But the Austrian is considered the best player on clay after Rafael Nadal and was a 2018 finalist at Roland-Garros.

On Court Philippe-Chatrier, Alexander Zverev serves to Djokovic, who's aiming to become only the second man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time twice over. The first: the great Rod Laver.

Djokovic and Zverev have split their four meetings, with the latter beating the world No. 1 in the final of the 2018 ATP Tour Finals. Zverev won their only match on clay when they met for the first at the 2017 Rome Masters.

5:30pm: So we have four first-time French Open semifinalists in women's singles. In fact, Amanda Anisimova, Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousova have reached the last of a Grand Slam for the first time. Joanna Konta reached the semis at the Australian Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, but only won her first match at Roland-Garros this year after four first-round losses previously.

5:00pm: Next up at 6:00pm:

Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Dominic Thiem vs Karen Khachanov on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

4:52pm: What an upset by the 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova. A stunning display of aggression against the 2018 French Open champion. Simona Halep was knocked out on all counts. The former world No. 1 didn't play badly; Anisimova was just far better today.

 

On Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Ashleigh Barty had a more regulation victory over Madison Keys. Barty, too, is into the semifinals of a Major for the first time.

4:48pm: Ashleigh Barty beats Madison Keys 6-3, 7-5!

Madison KeysPlayerAshleigh Barty
8Aces4
1Double faults1
58%First serve60%
62%Win on 1st serve80%
56%Win on 2nd serve62%
4/10Net points won11/12
1/1Break points won3/5
16/60Receiving points won24/60
19Winners16
26Unforced errors17
52Total points won68

 

4:47pm: Amanda Anisimova beats Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4!

Simona HalepPlayerAmanda Anisimova
1Aces1
2Double faults0
72%First serve73%
52%Win on 1st serve64%
53%Win on 2nd serve64%
2/5Net points won4/6
1/7Break points won4/7
23/65Receiving points won26/55
16Winners25
17Unforced errors24
52Total points won68

 

4:46pm: Halep double-faults to give Anisimova match point.

4:45pm: A double fault by Madison Keys gives Asheigh Barty the break. Barty will serve for the match a second time at 6-3, 6-5.

4:43pm: Anisimova holds for a 5-4 lead. Halep to serve to stay in the match.

4:39pm: Ashleigh Barty is broken when serving for the match. Madison Keys to serve at 5-5 in the second set.

4:38pm: Halep holds serve. It's 4-4 in the second.

4:37pm: Anisimova has a break point but squanders it by sending a backhand long.

4:36pm: Ashleigh Barty serves for the match and her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at 5-4 in the second set.

4:35pm: Barty breaks Keys and then holds serve to lead 6-3, 5-3.

4:33pm: Halep earns two break points and wins the game on the second. It's back on serve in the second set.

4:27pm: An hold for Halep. But the defending champion is two games away from losing.

4:26pm: A brilliant all-court rally ends with Anisimova holding serve for a 6-2, 4-1 lead over Halep.

Barty-Keys is 3-3 in the second set.

4:23pm: Keys holds serve for 3-2 in the second against Barty.

Meanwhile, Anisimova's shot kisses the sideline as she saves a third break point.

4:22pm: Anisimova saves the break point. And the next one, too.

4:21pm: Halep has a break point.

So does Barty.

4:18pm: Halep finally holds serve. Anisimova leads 6-2, 3-1.

4:15pm: Two unforced errors from Halep and Anisimova leads the second set 3-0. That's seven games on the trot for the American.

Madison Keys leads 2-1 on serve in the second set against Ashleigh Barty.

4:12pm: Anisimova holds a break point. And she breaks Halep to lead 6-2, 2-0.

The 17-year-old has won six straight games now.

4:10pm: Keys aces her way out of trouble to win the first game of the second set.

4:09pm: Anisimova holds to love to begin the second set.

Anisimova reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, where she lost to eventual runner-up Petra Kvitova. Could she do better today?

In the opening set, Anisimova had 11 winners and 6 unforced errors to Halep's 6 and 10. She also hammered the reigning champion's second serve.

4:06pm: Halep saves one break point. Halep saves two. Anisimova wins it on the third.

Amanda Anisimova breaks Simona Halep a second time to win the first set of their quarterfinal 6-2 in 27 minutes.

And Asheligh Barty wins the opening set 6-3 against Madison Keys on her fourth set point.

4:04pm: Uh-oh. Anisimova has three set points on Halep's serve.

4:02pm: Anisimova holds serve to lead 5-2 in the first set.

4:00pm: Barty breaks Keys and will serve for the opening set at 5-3.

And it's time for Halep to hold a break point against Anisimova.

3:57pm: Halep sends a forehand long and Anisimova has the break and leads 4-2!

3:56pm: Anisimova has two break points.

Barty holds serve to love for 4-3 against Keys.

3:55pm: Barty-Keys is on serve at 3-3 in the first set.

3:53pm: Anisimova pushes Halep back and then draws her in with a delicious drop shot, then hammers a crosscourt passing shot for 30-15 on her serve.

Another easy hold with a backhand winner down the line. 3-2 to Anisimova.

3:51pm: An easy hold for Halep. 2-2.

Barty eases through her service game, too. She leads Keys 3-2.

3:47pm: Anisimova holds serve against Halep. 2-1. Ditto for Barty against Keys.

Strong service games so far.

Stat attack: Barty has the highest percentage of break points won at 67 percent (20 of 30), while Halep has the most breaks this tournament with 30.

3:41pm: Barty holds with an ace. She and Keys have split the two matches they've played before. Keys won in the first round of the 2017 French Open, while Barty won at the Federation Cup earlier this year.

Anisimova holds, too. Note: This is the first meeting between the 17-year-old American and the former world No. 1.

3:38pm: Amanda Anisimova serves to begin her match against reigning French Open champion Simona Halep on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

On Court Suzanne-Lenglen, Ashleigh Barty is serving to Madison Keys.

Play had been called off on Wednesday due to rain. The weather, however, looks good today and we're hopefully set for some unhindered quarterfinal action.

Today's Fixtures

Simona Halep vs Amanda Anisimova

Ashleigh Barty vs Madison Keys

Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev

Dominic Thiem vs Karen Khachanov

 

The French Open is the only Grand Slam without a retractable roof. But that won't be for long. Court Philippe-Chatrier was largely demolished after the 2018 tournament and rebuilt in time for this year's edition, and it'll have a retractable roof in place for 2020.

While we wait, here are highlights from Tuesday's exciting Federer-Wawrinka clash

Federer-Nadal at Roland-Garros after eight years

A Federer-Nadal clash on clay is coming for the first time since 2013 in Rome and the final in 2011 was the last time they met at the French Open. Federer hasn't beaten Nadal on clay since 2009. The 20-time Grand Slam champion knows how tough a match against the King of Clay can be, especially when returning to clay after a break of four years. "If you want to achieve something on clay, inevitable, at some stage, you have to go through Rafa."

 

Some background

Reigning champion Simona Halep will take on rising star Amanda Anisimova, the 17-year-old American who's reached her second Grand Slam quarterfinal of the year, on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Halep enters the match after a 6-1, 6-0 hammering of another 17-year-old, Iga Swiatek of Poland. But Anisimova has hit a rich vein of form of her own, not dropping a set this tournament and beating Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov 6-3, 6-0 in the round of 16.

READ | Who is Amanda Anisimova?

On Court Suzanne-Lenglen, eighth seed Ashleigh Barty takes on 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys.

The 5"5 Barty is the breakout star of the year. Just 23, she'd had quite a storied career. In 2013, she reached the doubles finals at the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open at age 16-17. But at the end of 2015, Barty took a break from tennis because, in her own words, she wanted to have normal experiences.

Barty spent 2016 playing cricket in the Women's Big Bash League and the Women's National Cricket League in Australia. She returned to tennis the years after, winning her first WTA title and cracking the top 20 in the world as well as making a fourth doubles Grand Slam final.

READ | Ashleigh Barty, Madison Keys set up quarterfinal clash

In 2018, Barty won the US Open doubles title with CoCo Vandeghe and also the WTA Elite Trophy, the biggest title of her singles career.

At this year's Australian Open, she made the quarterfinal of a Major for the first time.

In an age of tall players with a power game, Barty is built in the mould of Martina Hingis and Justine Henin. She's got solid groundstrokes on both flanks, can employ the kick serve and create sharp angles, and has a slice backhand.

4:00pm: A recap from Tuesday.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal set up a sixth meeting at Roland Garros, the first since 2011. The two GOAT contenders reached the semis in contrasting fashion amid an hour-long rain delay.

Federer needed three hours and 35 minutes to dispatch of compatriot Stan Wawrinka in a match of supreme tennis that saw the latter return to the kind of game he played when he won three Grand Slam titles in 2013-15.

 

READ | Federer ousts Wawrinka to set up mouth-watering Nadal semifinal

Nadal had it much easier, dropping just five games to Kei Nishikori in a match that lasted an hour and 51 minutes.

READ | Nadal thrashes Nishikori to set up Federer showdown

On the women's side, Joanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the last four at Roland-Garros since Jo Durie in 1983, beating 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens in straight sets.

READ | Konta beaming after breaking new ground at French Open

And 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova the first teenager since Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 to reach this stage of a Grand Slam, beating Petra Martic in straight sets.

Highlights from Day 10

Roger Federer bt Stan Wawrinka 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4

Johanna Konta bt Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4

Rafael Nadal vs Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3

Marketa Vondrousova vs Petra Martic 7-6, 7-5