Thiem reaches 3rd Paris semifinal

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Dominic Thiem made it to a third straight French Open semifinal after swatting aside second-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 yesterday.
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Reuters

Dominic Thiem returns to second seed Alexander Zverev of Germany during their French Open quarterfinal at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday. The seventh-seeded Austrian scored an upset 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

Dominic Thiem made it to a third straight French Open semifinal after swatting aside second-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 yesterday.

The seventh-seeded Thiem is in sight of a first final at Roland Garros in Paris.

In his way are 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato, who were playing their quarterfinal on Court Suzanne Lenglen later in the day.

There was no stirring comeback this time for Zverev on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Heading into the match, the German had won three consecutive five-setters — trailing 1-2 in sets in each — but the rousing effort caught up with him against Thiem.

Just 10 minutes in, Zverev clutched at his left hamstring. He grabbed it again midway through the second set, after giving chase to one of several drop shots Thiem used to force Zverev to run a lot.

After falling behind 1-4 in that set an hour into the match, Zverev called for a trainer, who applied a thick bandage to his upper left leg.

Soon enough, Zverev lost the second set, too, and it proved to be too much of a deficit to overcome. He trailed 0-4 in the third set before getting a game.

“It was very tough for him today,” Thiem, who fell to eventual winners Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the last two years, said on court. “He is one of the fittest guys on Tour but to play three five-setters in a row is tough in a Grand Slam.”

Over on Lenglen, meanwhile, Madison Keys reached her first French Open semifinal by defeating unseeded Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (5), 6-4.

The 13th-seeded Keys has not lost a set at Roland Garros.

While Putintseva regularly lost her composure, Keys stayed calm throughout and the big-hitting American secured victory on her first match point with a powerful serve which clipped Putintseva’s racket and flew into the crowd.

Her box, including three-time major winner Lindsay Davenport, rose to acclaim Keys, who lost last year’s US Open final to countrywoman Sloane Stephens.

The two friends could meet again in the semifinals.

The 10th-seeded Stephens was facing No. 14 Daria Kasatkina in a quarterfinals later yesterday.

The 98th-ranked Putintseva was trying to become the first player from Kazakhstan to advance to a Grand Slam semifinal. She had her chances against Keys, thanks to deft drop shots and spinning, looping forehands, but could not hold her nerve.

After losing the first-set tiebreaker, she began ranting at her box and struck the ground with her racquet in frustration.

Known for her short fuse, she lived up to it, regularly spinning around to glare at her box with looks of incomprehension and gestures; or at other times mumbling to herself in frustration.

In the second game of the second set, she was convinced an incorrect call went in favor of Keys and asked the chair umpire to come down and check it.

“My God,” Putintseva said as she walked away. “I can’t believe ... unbelievable.”

Djokovic faced an unfamiliar opponent in 72nd-ranked Cecchinato, who was cleared of a match-fixing charge on a technicality in 2016 — the year Djokovic won the last of his 12 majors at Roland Garros.


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