One of the greatest champions is facing a rising star in the semifinals of French Tennis Open. Novak Djokovic is eager to clash with Dominic Thiem on his quest towards the second non-calendar Grand Slam. Not so long ago, the Serbian player defeated his rival at the same stage of ATP Masters in Madrid. But that was then, and this meeting at Philippe Chatrier is something new.
Djokovic is looking good despite the struggles he had a couple of months ago. He proved his good form by winning the tournament in Madrid and playing the finals in Rome where he lost to Nadal. Still, the Serb always leaves the best for the end. His ambitions are entirely focused on taking the trophy here, and anything beneath that would be a huge failure for the 15-time Grand Slam champion.
When we tell you that Djokovic still hasn’t lost a single set here, everything will become clear to you about his form. The latest victim in his collection was Alexander Zverev who suffered a tough beating earlier today, 3-0, 7-5 6-2 6-2. For one brief moment in the opening sequence, we could see the German ahead, and serving for the set after converting his break point chance. But the world No.1 instantly replied and erased that deficit snatching the momentum on his side. Afterward, the Joker schooled the youngster who still has a lot of work ahead of him in order to be equal with the Serbian player. Before this match, Novak eliminated Hubert Hurkacz, Henri Laaksonen, Salvatore Caruso, and Jan-Lennard Struff, so we can tell that he didn’t have such a tough path to the semis. What might be problematic is the fact that he has to go out on the court in less than 22 hours since he won Zverev.
After having a very good start of the season, when he won the ATP Masters in Indian Wells, Dominic Thiem deflated a little bit. For a guy whose specialty is playing on clay, winning such a big tournament on the hard surface should have been an initial spark for more titles. However, he added only one more piece of silverware, and that was the trophy from Barcelona.
Thiem reached the finals last season, and he is aiming to go one step further in this edition. So far he has been quite good in Paris, losing a set apiece in the opening three rounds. But that is something characteristic for the Austrian who starts slowly in almost every tournament. He defeated Tommy Paul and Alexander Bublik in first two matches. After that, his next rivals were two veterans of this sport, Pablo Cuevas and Gael Monfils. Cuevas went down with 3-1, while Monfils suffered a sweeping in front of his own crowd. Interestingly, all three sets Thiem lost were the second ones. Karen Khachanov was his opponent in the quarterfinals, and that was Austrian’s best performance in the whole tournament. He won with 3-0 6-2 6-4 6-2, breaking the Russian’s serve five times. The total points won result was 91-66 in favor of Thiem, and that can tell you a lot.
Head to Head
Djokovic and Thiem met 8 times so far. Joker has six wins, while Thiem recorded two, one of them here in Paris back in 2017. He stunned Djokovic in the quarterfinals with 3-0. Joker also defeated his opponent here a year before in the semifinals. Regarding the latest event, Novak was better in Madrid after two tie-breaks.
We are giving the advantage to Djokovic, despite solid performances of his rival. After all, he is the No.1 and anything but his triumph here would be a massive sensation. The way he handled Zverev forces us to bet on him. When talking about the length of the match, four sets are the most realistic proposal. It is hard to believe that Djokovic wouldn’t lose a single set on his way towards the finals.