Thiem stuns Djokovic
Originally published on 07/06/17 00:00
The Austrian powerhouse was at his explosive best as he rocked the world No.2 with his thunderous groundstrokes. The on-form 23-year-old is yet to drop a set in the tournament, and Rafael Nadal awaits on Friday.
The opening set was a bruising affair played in blustery conditions. The Serb, who tends to struggle in the wind, was content to let his opponent dictate while he absorbed the pressure.
It was a tactic that appeared to work for Djokovic, however twice he moved a break ahead and twice he was swiftly pegged back. It had been a scratchy first set from Thiem as he was often guilty of over-pressing, but he found his range in the tiebreak and claimed a punishing 73-minute first set.
Thiem, who had never beaten Djokovic in five attempts, continued to play with fearsome aggression in the second set and the Serbian was struggling to keep up. The Austrian was in complete control, and was soon closing in on victory.
In the third set, there was little fight from the 12-time Grand Slam champion and his title defence was soon over. It was a disappointing way for Djokovic to exit the tournament and his famous win in Paris last year now seems a distant memory.
Thiem, who has now beaten all members of the “Big Four,” said afterwards: "It’s amazing for me, I was 0-5 against him [Djokovic]. To beat him for the first time in the quarter-final of a Grand Slam is a dream. It was tricky today – a lot of wind and it was colder. It was important to move well and hit clean, and I did that today.
"It’s amazing how difficult it is to go deep in a Grand Slam because you have to play the best guys round after round, and it’s not getting easier on Friday."
Nadal is safely through to the last four after his countryman, Pablo Carreno Busta, retired with an abdominal injury in the second set. The ‘King of Clay’, who is now just two wins away from an unprecedented tenth Roland Garros title, led 6-2 2-0 when play came to an abrupt end.
Carreno Busta, who edged a gruelling battle with Milos Raonic in the fourth round, looked in discomfort from the outset.