Sport

Thiem times march through Paris to perfection

Thiem times march through Paris to perfection

Novak Djokovic effectively waved the white flag, bowing out of the French Open with a whimper on Wednesday.

He proved too experienced for Karen Khachanov, defusing the power of the 21-year-old Russian to win 6-3 6-4 6-4. His last Grand Slam title came a year ago at Roland Garros. She bounced back and then saved a match point in the tiebreaker.

Djokovic, who had needed five sets to beat Diego Schwartzman in the third round, was 3-0 down in the second set with Thiem's unerring accuracy finding the angles.

Halep clinched the second set with a forehand victor and swept through the decider as Svitolina's spirit sagged, sealing victory with an ace.

Thiem was showing all his considerable skills, flashing backhand winners down the line and punishing Djokovic with his heavy forehand.

Nadal, bidding for a 10th title at Roland Garros, was leading 6-2 2-0 when Carreno Busta decided he could not continue after receiving lengthy treatment for a left abdominal muscle injury at the end of the first set. He was unable to take playing anymore and chose to call it quits, handing the match to Nadal.

On form, Thiem may be positioning himself as the main threat to Nadal winning a 10th crown here.

Reflecting on his maiden victory over Djokovic, Thiem said he felt the first set was crucial and sensed the Serbian was there for the taking after clinching the opener on a tie-break.




That delay lasted approximately half an hour.

Even Djokovic found it hard to fathom how far he's fallen, only a year removed from leaving Roland Garros as a player nonpareil, the first man in almost a half-century to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles. He has got an all-round game for clay courts and he is a tough player to play against.

A day after their matches were postponed because of rain, nine-time champion Nadal and defending champion Djokovic will try to reach the semifinals.

A dish best served cold What channel is Andy Murray vs Kei Nishikori on and when does the French Open match start?

Friday's other semi-final will pitch world number one Murray, the runner-up to Djokovic in 2016, against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

Carreno Busta at least managed to outdo poor Nikoloz Basilashvila, who took just one off the Spaniard in his 90-minute third-round defeat.

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova reached the women's semifinals.


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