Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic upset by Dominic Thiem in French Open semifinals

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Novak Djokovic‘s bid for a fourth straight Grand Slam title — to achieve the feat for the second time in his career — ended in the French Open semifinals.

Dominic Thiem derailed Djokovic, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, in a match that started Friday and finished Saturday and was delayed four times overall. Thiem, the No. 4 seed from Austria, plays No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the French Open final a second straight year (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app).

“He is the favorite, of course,” Thiem said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, to let everything out on the court again. We’ll see.”

Thiem blew two match points on his serve before breaking Djokovic three games later for the win.

The top-ranked Djokovic lost at a Slam for the first time since little-known Italian Marco Cecchinato served the upset in the 2018 French Open quarterfinals.

After that, Djokovic picked himself up from being ranked outside the top 20 and reeled off his first Slam titles since 2016: Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open to run his total to 15, just two behind Nadal and five behind Roger Federer.

But now it’s Thiem who has the great opportunity, the chance to end Nadal’s pursuit of a 12th French Open title. It didn’t go so well last year, when Thiem won nine games total and was swept by the Spaniard in the final.

Thiem is one of two men to make at least four semifinals at one Grand Slam but never win any Grand Slam titles (Tim Henman, Wimbledon).

But this year, Thiem beat Djokovic, Nadal (on clay!) and Federer (twice, including from a set down in the Indian Wells final for his biggest career title). He may be the best player yet to win a major, and, at 25, his time may be now.

“He showed why he’s one of the best players in the world,” on Saturday, Djokovic said.

It would be a monumental run, taking out the best player of the moment and the greatest French Open champion of all time. Nobody has beaten Djokovic and Nadal in back-to-back matches (let alone back-to-back days) at a Slam. Nadal also benefits from a full day’s rest more than Thiem.

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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Novak Djokovic joins Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal in French Open semifinals

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Novak DjokovicRoger Federer and Rafael Nadal are all into the French Open semifinals. They were last in the final four, together, at a Grand Slam at this tournament seven years ago.

“It’s a different time for us now than it was five years ago now, obviously. We’re a bit older,” Djokovic said. “But, you know, we have still been enjoying some of our best tennis in biggest events, talking about Federer, Nadal, and myself. That’s great to see.

“Nadal and Federer, arguably the biggest legends of this sport and best players, successful players ever, so to be in the mix with them and to have myself successful career is quite a great feeling.”

No. 1 Djokovic and No. 4 Dominic Thiem swept quarterfinals Thursday to join No. 3 Federer and No. 2 Nadal in Friday’s semifinals. Federer plays Nadal at 6:50 a.m. ET with NBCSN coverage starting at 7 a.m. Djokovic gets Thiem after that.

Djokovic, trying to hold all four majors at once for the second time in his career, dominated young No. 5 Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarters. Thiem had it even easier, dusting No. 10 Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Djokovic, Federer and Nadal own a combined 52 Grand Slam singles titles. Thiem, much younger at 25, is the best player on the men’s tour without a major.

It’s the first time the top four men’s seeds at a Grand Slam made the semifinals since the 2013 Australian Open. Since then, tennis’ Big Three traded turns at No. 1 and missed Slams due to injuries.

Federer went four and a half years between major titles from to 2012 to 2017. He’s playing the French for the first time since 2015, on the 10th anniversary of his lone Roland Garros title. It could be, at age 37, his last French Open.

Nadal didn’t make a Grand Slam semifinal in 2015 or 2016, ending the latter season early with a wrist injury. He overcame one of his latest sets of knee problems to make the Australian Open final in January and arrived in Paris favored for his record-extending 12th French Open crown.

Djokovic held all four Slam titles after taking the 2016 French Open. But he, too, declined and then underwent elbow surgery in January 2018, falling out of the top 20 before a comeback Wimbledon title in July. Djokovic then won the U.S. Open and Australian Open, retaking the No. 1 ranking and, with 15 majors, closing in on Nadal (17) and Federer (20).

“The presence I think of history-making is stronger than ever right now in my career,” Djokovic said. “That’s one of the greatest motivations I have, obviously.”

Earlier Thursday, American Amanda Anisimova became the first player born in the 2000s to make a Grand Slam semifinal, ousting defending champ Simona Halep. She plays the highest remaining women’s seed, No. 8 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who denied an all-American semifinal by sweeping Madison Keys.

The other semi pits No. 26 Jo Konta against unseeded, 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

The men’s final four, average age 32, have a combined 80 career Grand Slam finals and 760 weeks at No. 1. The women’s final four, average age 22, have a combined zero career Grand Slam finals and zero weeks at No. 1.

Men’s Quarterfinals
(1) Novak Djokovic def. (5) Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2
(4) Dominic Thiem def. (10) Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
(3) Roger Federer def. (24) Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4
(2) Rafael Nadal def. (7) Kei Nishikori, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3

Women’s Quarterfinals
(8) Ashleigh Barty def. (14) Madison Keys, 6-3, 7-5
Amanda Anisimova def. (3) Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4
(26) Jo Konta def. (7) Sloane Stephens, 6-1, 6-4
Marketa Vondrousova def. (31) Petra Martic, 7-6 (1), 7-5

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

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Novak Djokovic joins Federer, Nadal in French Open quarterfinals

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The Big Three are all into the French Open quarterfinals.

Novak Djokovic joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the last eight by sweeping German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Monday. He hasn’t dropped a set, or even been taken to a tiebreak, in four matches against unseeded players.

“Played as closest to my best tennis on clay as I think I can be at the moment,” Djokovic said. “Everything is coming together beautifully. … But it’s still a long way to go.”

The competition level rises starting with Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Djokovic, the No. 1 seed seeking a fourth straight Grand Slam title (for the second time in his career), gets No. 5 Alexander Zverev next.

Djokovic is the first man in the Open Era to reach 10 straight French Open quarterfinals. Zverev, who beat Djokovic at the ATP Finals in November, has never advanced past a Slam quarterfinal.

A potential semifinal opponent will be seeded no lower than 10th, potentially No. 4 Dominic Thiem. Federer and Nadal, who play separate quarterfinals Tuesday, are in the other half of the draw.

Also Monday, No. 14 Madison Keys made her fifth quarterfinal in her last seven Slams, topping Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 6-4. Siniakova had upset No. 1 Naomi Osaka in the third round.

American Sofia Kenin fell to No. 8 Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, two days after upsetting Serena Williams. Keys gets Barty in the quarters.

Yet another American, Amanda Anisimova, became the first man or woman born in the 2000s to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal, four months after she became the first to make the fourth round of a Slam.

It’s the first time three or more U.S. women made a Grand Slam’s quarterfinals, without either Williams sister in that group, since the 1995 U.S. Open. Since then, it happened 26 times with a Williams sister.

Anisimova gets defending champion Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. Halep is the only woman left from the top six and one of two women left who have won a Slam, along with Sloane Stephens.

FRENCH OPEN: TV Schedule | Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

Men’s Quarterfinals
(1) Novak Djokovic – (5) Alexander Zverev (Wednesday)
(4) Dominic Thiem – (10) Karen Khachanov (Wednesday)
(3) Roger Federer – (24) Stan Wawrinka (Tuesday)
(2) Rafael Nadal – (7) Kei Nishikori (Tuesday)

Women’s Quarterfinals
(8) Ashleigh Barty – (14) Madison Keys (Wednesday)
(3) Simona Halep – Amanda Anisimova (Wednesday)
(7) Sloane Stephens – (26) Jo Konta (Tuesday)
(31) Petra Martic – Marketa Vondrousova (Tuesday)

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