AFP: Dominic Thiem demolished defending champion Novak Djokovic in a stunning French Open upset on Wednesday, setting up a semi-final duel against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal.
Austrian sixth seed Thiem sent the world number two crashing to his earliest loss in Paris in seven years with a memorable 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0 triumph.
It also piled the pressure back onto the 12-time Grand Slam winner to prove that he is still a contender at the majors following a second-round exit at the Australian Open in January.
The defeat was Djokovic’s first straight-sets loss at a major in four years and comes just 12 months after he completed the career Grand Slam in Paris. He then also held all four majors.
Wednesday saw him suffer a first 6-0 ‘bagel’ at a Slam since the 2005 US Open while the defeat will also see him slip out of the world’s top two for the first time in six years.
“It’s a dream to beat Novak for the first time and reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros again,” said Thiem, who was beaten by Djokovic in straight sets in the semi-finals in Paris in 2016.
It was Thiem’s first win over the Serb in six meetings.
Thiem trails Nadal 4-2 in career meetings but remains the only man to beat the Spaniard on clay this year after winning in the Rome quarter-finals.
“It’s always difficult the deeper you go in the draw - it won’t be any easier on Friday.”
Nadal through to French Open semis as Carreno Busta quits
Reuters: Rafael Nadal barely broke a sweat to reach the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday as fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta quit with an injury less than an hour into their quarter-final.
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.
The 31-year-old Nadal has spent only around eight hours on court, dropping 22 games in the process, to reach his record-extending 10th semi-final at the French Open.
It is the fewest number of games Nadal has lost on his way to the last four on the Paris clay. In 2008, he dropped 25.