Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem set up a semi-final clash at the 2019 French Open after recording impressive wins at Roland-Garros on Thursday.
Djokovic saw off Alexander Zverev in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, while Thiem did the same to Karen Khachanov, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. The two will now meet on Friday, with Djokovic likely to continue his irrepressible form, even against a player as capable on clay as Thiem.
Friday also sees Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal renew their storied rivalry for the right to play in yet another Grand Slam final.
The WTA bracket sees Ashleigh Barty meet Amanda Anisimova in the last four. Barty beat Madison Keys 6-3, 7-5, while Anisimova continued her excellent tournament by dispatching defending champion Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4.
Johanna Konta meets Marketa Vondrousova in the other semi-final.
Friday’s Schedule and Predicted Winners ATP WTA Djokovic and Nadal to Meet in the Final
Djokovic still hasn’t dropped a set en route to the last four. He was imperious against Zverev after being pushed all the way during a tense opening set.
The world No. 1 claimed it 7-5, but he found things easier after that, dropping only four games before sealing victory.
Back in the final 4️⃣. @DjokerNole too good for Zverev 7-5 6-2 6-2. Meets Them in the semi-finals. 🎾 https://t.co/Zs3DNFWbFP #RG19 https://t.co/sz1GWIHa2h
A terrific and aggressive range of shots kept Zverev on the back foot. Specifically, the Serb used the backhand to snatch more than a few key points.
Smoker from the Djoker! Perfectly placed from @DjokerNole… 🎾 https://t.co/Zs3DNFWbFP #RG19 https://t.co/GSmuGbYDrk
There is barely a flaw in Djokovic’s game ahead of facing Thiem. Even so, the latter represents a tricky opponent, one who usually taps into his best game on this surface.
Thiem is going from strength to strength during this year’s tournament. His reward is a fourth-straight trip to the semi-final stage of the bracket in Paris.
The Austrian will be the first player to take a set off Djokovic, but it won’t be enough to stall the 32-year-old’s path to the final.
Unlike Thiem, Federer isn’t fighting form, he’s fighting history when he steps on court against Nadal. The Spaniard has won the last five meetings between the pair at Roland-Garros.
Tennis TV @TennisTV
10 minutes of @RafaelNadal and @rogerfederer on a clay court… You’re welcome 💁♂️ https://t.co/la3yH1RqQB
Those defeats leave Federer with a fairly big to-do list to end Nadal’s recent dominance. One of his priorities has to be “playing positively” on break points, according to Charlie Eccleshare of the Daily Telegraph.
Unfortunately, Federer “has struggled to convert break points so far this tournament, taking just two of 18 against Wawrinka and only making 36 per cent (20 from 55) in total,” per BBC Sport’s Alex Bysouth.
Count on the “King of Clay” keeping Federer off guard long enough to secure another famous win and keep a bid for a 12th French Open title alive.
Barty and Konta on Course for Final
Konta has found her best form at the right time in the French capital. The 28-year-old has also achieved a rarity for British players in this tournament:
History Book Bound 📕 @JohannaKonta becomes the first British woman to reach the Roland-Garros quarter-finals since 1983 with her 6-2 6-4 win over Donna Vekic. 🎾 https://t.co/vKfBxnrBzf #RG19 https://t.co/PqyhH3NNyk
Momentum on her side means Konta is a strong pick to get past Vondrousova and book her place in the final.
Anisimova will be confident about joining her after the way she dominated Halep. The champion from 2018 barely got near the American, who powered through both sets.
Many, including Christopher Clarey of The New York Times applauded the varied and cerebral game the 17-year-old displayed: “Anisimova repeatedly held her own or better in the backhand exchanges and was also able to generate rally-controlling pace with her forehand. She showed tactical variety, too, hitting drop-shot winners after pinning Halep deep in the court with her baseline power.”
Anisimova is playing with a daring impudence that’s upset the established order. However, her run will come to an end against Barty.
The Australian has mastered consistency and efficiency after beating Sofia Kenin and Keys. Barty isn’t giving her opponents any edge or hope.
Ashleigh Barty’s rise is nothing short of extraordinary. Here’s a quick refresher. #RG19 https://t.co/Qivt4u9ZWh
Barty is an exceptional athlete who can manufacture shots as well as any player left in the bracket. Her steady game will gradually wear Anisimova down.