After Nadal advanced to the semifinals based on retirement, eyes turned to Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. The two had just met two weeks ago in Rome with Djokovic dismantling Thiem 6-1, 6-0 but this match proved to be much different. A lengthy first set made it seem as if the match was going to go five sets but it turned out to be the beginning of the end for Djokovic. After Thiem took the first set 7-6(5), he never looked back. Two hours later, he stood the victor beating the defending champ 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the French Open semifinals for the second consecutive year.
The keys to Thiem’s win lie in both his aggression and Djokovic’s errors. He produced his 38th winner on match point and won 7/9 points at the net while Novak committed only 18 winners and an uncharacteristic 35 unforced errors. The victory was sweeter than most for the sixth-seeded Austrian, who has been enjoying a most fruitful clay season. Thiem reached the finals in Barcelona and Madrid falling to Rafael Nadal both times. He later avenged his two losses by defeating the “King of Clay” in Rome just a couple weeks ago. And, who would be Thiem’s next opponent? Nadal of course.
The Spaniard spent little time on court today as his opponent Pablo Carreno-Busta retired due to injury, handing Nadal a 6-2, 2-0 in just 50 minutes.
More Men’s Matches to Come
The third men’s quarterfinal sees world #1 Andy Murray (GBR) pitted against world #8 Kei Nishikori (JPN). The Brit is looking to advance to the finals for the second consecutive year and capture his first ever French Open title. Nishikori is looking to advance to the French Open semifinals for the first time in his career. Murray leads their rivalry 8-2 and has won their only match on clay in straight sets. The good news for Nishikori is that Murray has looked vulnerable on clay, his worst surface, and they have not played on clay since 2015. A lot can happen in two years, but will it be enough for Nishikori to emerge the victor?
The final men’s quarterfinal of the day showcases third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) against the seventh-seeded Marin Cilic (CRO). Wawrinka famously won the French Open in 2015 when he defeated Djokovic in the final while Cilic is looking to advance to the French Open semifinals for the first time in his career. Wawrinka leads their head-to-head 11-2 and has won all 4 matches played on clay. These stats do not bode well for Cilic but as we have seen time and time again in tennis, anything can happen.