Thiem ends Djokovic’s slam streak in semifinals

At the time of going to print, Ash Barty won the first set of the women's final against Marketa Vondrousova.

10 June 2019 | Sports

Novak Djokovic's 26-match grand slam winning streak ended with a dramatic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 loss on Saturday to Dominic Thiem in a rain-interrupted French open semifinal that spanned more than four hours over two days.

Thiem wasted two match points with quick unforced errors when serving for the victory at 5-3 in the fifth, but he made his third chance count, smacking a forehand winner to break Djokovic in the last game.

“It’s never easy to go on, go off, put the system on 100 percent and go down to zero percent in the locker,” Thiem said, “but if you win, everything is good.”

Top-ranked Djokovic had trouble with Thiem, but also with the weather, with the chair umpire and with his odd propensity for heading to the net much more often than usual, including some serve-and-volleying that often failed. “There is always something large at stake when you’re one of the top players of the world and play in the biggest tournaments,” Djokovic said. “These kind of matches, one or two points decide a winner.”

He was stopped two victories short of collecting his fourth consecutive major championship, a run that began on the grass at Wimbledon last July, then continued on the hard courts of the US open and Australian open. Instead, it is Thiem, an Austrian ranked no. 4, who now gets a chance to win his first grand slam trophy on the red clay of Roland Garros.

Thiem faces 11-time French open champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s final. Nadal won that one, part of an 8-4 lead for the Spaniard in their head-to-head series.

“All the time, if someone reaches the finals here, it’s against Rafa,” Thiem said with a laugh.

It will be the fourth straight day that Thiem is in action because of postponements, whereas Nadal will be well-rested, having played his quarterfinal Tuesday and his semifinal Friday, when he beat Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The women’s final followed Thiem-Djokovic at court Philippe Chatrier on Saturday, with no. 8 seed Ash Barty of Australia against unseeded 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Neither had ever participated in a major singles final.

Nampa/AFP

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