Thiem downs Djokovic, through to French Open final

After five sets, played over two days, Dominic Thiem dug in to defeat Novak Djokovic and progress to the French Open final.

In a rematch of the 2018 final, Thiem will face Nadal for the 2019 French Open title.   -  Getty Images

Dominic Thiem derailed Novak Djokovic’s attempt to become only the second man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time twice, winning their weather-delayed French Open semifinal 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in four hours and 13 minutes on Saturday.

Thiem, the world No. 4 and 2018 Roland-Garros runner-up, had led 6-2, 3-6, 3-1 when play was suspended on Friday evening.

Djokovic returned strongly when the two took to Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday, breaking Thiem immediately to level the set. But the Austrian broke back later to take a two-sets-to-one lead.

The world No. 1 began the fourth set aggressively, breaking for a 2-1 lead. Thiem broke back, but Djokovic struck again and moved ahead at 4-2.

An unperturbedThiem broke back as Djokovic tussled with the chair umpire, complaining that the service clock was starting too soon.

Djokovic served to stay in the match at 5-4 and broke Thiem in his next service game to take a 6-5 lead, then serving out the set.

Thiem broke Djokovic early in the decider to go 3-1 ahead and followed that up with a hold of serve.

Rain then delayed play for an hour. On return to the court, Djokovic completed a hold of serve and broke Thiem to take the set back on serve, the second time in two days that the world No. 1 has done so after a rain break.

But Thiem broke back immediately, winning four straight points, to serve for the match, but was then broken Djokovic to go back on serve.

Thiem finally broke Djokovic on his third match at 6-5 to progress to the final.

Djokovic was looking to emulate Australian great Rod Laver, who won the calendar year Grand Slam once in the Open era and prior to that – in 1962 and 1969.

The Serbian world No. 1 had chance to do that in 2015 but was beaten in the final by Stan Wawrinka. He won the other three Majors that year. But he went on to hold all four when he won the Australian Open and French Open in 2016 – completing what’s called the ‘Djoker Slam.’

Thiem will play his second straight final at Roland-Garros against 11-time winner Rafael Nadal, who beat Roger Federer in straight sets on Friday.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Dominic Thiem [4] bt Novak Djokovic [1] 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Thiem - 52/60
Djokovic - 39/53

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Thiem - 4/4
Djokovic - 6/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Thiem - 9/22
Djokovic - 7/12

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Thiem - 69
Djokovic - 75

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Thiem - 65/58
Djokovic - 62/47

TOTAL POINTS
Thiem - 167
Djokovic - 159

 

 

(With inputs from Opta.)