PARIS, June 7 (Reuters) - Defending champion Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the French Open on Wednesday after a straight-sets defeat by Dominic Thiem, who will meet nine-times winner Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.
Second seed Djokovic was on the back foot for the majority of the encounter as the 23-year-old Austrian reached his second consecutive semi-final in Paris with a 7-6(5) 6-3 6-0 victory.
Nadal stayed on course to lift a record-extending 10th title at Roland Garros after his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew from their quarter-final match with an abdominal injury, trailing 6-2 2-0.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka continued his dominance on the surface with a convincing 6-3 6-1 6-1 win over Croatian Marin Cilic. Switzerland’s Wawrinka, Nadal and Thiem all progressed to the final four this year without dropping a set.
Briton Andy Murray shrugged off a sluggish start to claim a 2-6 6-1 7-6(0) 6-1 victory over eighth seed Kei Nishikori.
The world number one will meet Wawrinka in the semi-final for the second consecutive year.
In the women’s draw, world number three Karolina Pliskova bagged a comprehensive 7-6(3) 6-4 win over local favourite Caroline Garcia to reach the semi-finals.
Pliskova will next face Romanian Simona Halep, who came back after saving a match point to register a 3-6 7-6(6) 6-0 win over Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
Highlights from day 11 of the French Open tennis championships on Wednesday (times GMT):
- Top seed Andy Murray reached his fifth Roland Garros semi-final with a 2-6 6-1 7-6(0) 6-1 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
- He will meet Stan Wawrinka in the final four.
- Swiss Stan Wawrinka reached his third-consecutive semi-final at Roland Garros with a 6-3 6-3 6-1 win over Croatian Marin Cilic.
- Wawrinka, along with Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal, reached the last four this year without dropping a set.
- World number one Andy Murray used his aggressive groundstrokes to win the second set 6-1 against Kei Nishikori to level the match after an hour and 15 minutes of play.
- Third seed Stan Wawrinka raced to a 6-3 first-set lead against Croatia’s Marin Cilic in 38 minutes of their quarter-final.
- Japan’s Kei Nishikori broke top seed Andy Murray’s serve twice to claim the first set 6-2.
- Nishikori hit 10 winners in the opening set compared to five from the Briton.
- Third-seeded Romanian Simona Halep came from a set down to beat Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina 3-6 7-6(6) 6-0 and will meet second seed Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals.
- Second seed Karolina Pliskova ended local favourite Caroline Garcia’s run at Roland Garros with a 7-6(3) 6-4 victory to end the French presence in the women’s draw.
- “It was very tough. She (Garcia) played very well, we were both serving well. She played a great tournament. Even today, it was 50-50. It came down to about two points. I’m really glad I made it.” - Pliskova said after reaching her first French Open semi-final.
- Third seed Simona Halep clawed back from 5-1 down and saved a match point in the tiebreak to win the second set 7-6(6) against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
- Fifth seed Elina Svitolina took the opening set 6-3 against third-seeded Romanian Simona Halep in the quarter-final.
- The 22-year-old Ukrainian racked up an impressive tally of 22 points on her first-serve to take the set in just over 45 minutes.
1220 DJOKOVIC FACES A ‘BIG CHALLENGE’ TO FIND FORM
“The last couple of tournaments I have had some great tournaments and it was unfortunate to finish Roland Garros in this way,” Djokovic told reporters after his quarter-final defeat by Austrian Dominic Thiem.
”This is a whole new situation for me, not winning a big tournament for eight or nine months - this hasn’t happened for a while.
“All the top players have gone through that and I guess I have to learn lessons and figure how to get through. It is a big challenge and I‘m up for it.”
1145 DJOKOVIC‘S SHOCK DEFEAT IN NUMBERS
- Djokovic has now failed to win a grand slam in his last four appearances, after winning four in a row before his current slump. This is the first time since 2010 that he has failed to make the last four at Roland Garros.
- The Serb suffered his first straight sets grand slam defeat in four years and it was the first time he had lost a set 6-0 at major since the 2005 U.S. Open, against Gael Monfils.
- Austrian Dominic Thiem sealed a comprehensive 7-6(5) 6-3 6-0 victory over world number two Novak Djokovic to reach his second consecutive semi-final.
- The 23-year-old will face nine-times champion Rafael Nadal in the last four.
- “It’s amazing for me, I was 0-5 against him (on the head-to-head record). To beat him for the first time in the quarter-final of a grand slam... it’s a dream,” said Thiem.
“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.”
- Sixth-seed Dominic Thiem leads 7-6(5) 6-3 against defending champion Novak Djokovic after almost two hours of play on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
- Thiem hit an impressive tally of 14 winners to Djokovic’s five in the second set.
1100 NADAL‘S QUARTER-FINAL VICTORY IN NUMBERS
- Nadal has only dropped 22 games en route to the last four, his lowest tally at Roland Garros.
- He has now recorded 100 best-of-five-sets victories on clay out of just 102 matches, with his only defeats coming at Roland Garros to Robin Soderling in the round of 16 in 2009, and to Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals.
- Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal has booked a spot in the semi-finals after Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta retired during the second set due to a left abdominal muscle injury.
- Nadal has progressed past the last eight for the 10th time and is seeking to win his 10th title.
Compiled by Hardik Vyas and Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Mark Heinrich