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Djokovic vs Thiem French Open Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Djokovic and Thiem to finish on Saturday with Thiem leading 6-2 3-6 3-1

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 7 Jun 2019
  • Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem will continue at Roland Garros on Saturday, 8 June from 12:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST
  • Thiem leads 6-2 3-6 3-1
Novak Djokovic. (Photo by ABACAPRESS.COM)

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will resume their French Open semi-final on Saturday after bad weather stopped play on Friday.

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Thiem led 6-2 3-6 3-1 before French Open organizers called off play due to bad weather conditions. Djokovic had arrived the semi-finals without dropping a set, but he struggled under very windy conditions at Roland Garros, and promptly dropped the opening set to a very impressive Thiem. The Serbian fought back to take the second set after a brief rain delay, but Thiem continued to show greater mastery of the difficult conditions, and broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set before the players went off again due to rain. There would be no further action on Friday as play was controversially called off at around half past six local time (5:30pm BST).

Djokovic had spoken on the eve of the tournament about being extra motivated by the chance to win a second career Slam, and he has played this tournament like a man on a mission. The world No. 1 put his foot down right from the start, making light work of a supposedly tricky opener against Hubert Hurkacz. The top seed dismantled the Pole with minimum of fuss, and dished out similar punishment to Henri Laaksonen, Salvatore Caruso, Jan-Lennard Struff, and then Alexander Zverev in the quarter finals on Thursday.

World No. 5, Zverev competed very well for most of the first, and actually served for the set at 5-4, but that was the cue for Djokovic to up the ante. The Serbian got the break back, setting off a run of six consecutive games that effectively wiped out Zverev's challenge. Djokovic, who hit 24 winners and just18 unforced errors, broke again to take the second set 6-2, and won the last four games of the third set to finish off another emphatic victory and move within two wins of a second "Nole Slam".

The 32-year-old currently has the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open titles, and is bidding to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time for the second time in his career. Such scenario would have been unimaginable at this time last year, when the Serbian was struggling for form, with his fitness being suspect, having had elbow surgery earlier in the season. He however produced a magnificent second half of the year to get back to No. 1, and has largely continued in a similar vein this year. There was a slight wobble after the Australian Open when he fell relatively early at Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo, but he's picked it up since then, winning Madrid, making the final in Rome, and now the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the ninth time in his career.

Things didn't go according to plan in his semi-final against Thiem on Friday, with the Serbian trailing 6-2 3-6 3-1- can he turn the match around when play resumes on Saturday.

Thiem arrived Paris as one of the favourites for the title, but he struggled to impose himself on the tournament early on, and by his own admission, he was not feeling good on the court. Thiem needed four sets to get through his opening three rounds against Tommy Paul, Alexander Bublik and Pablo Cuevas, but with a rise in the quality of the opposition, the Austrian has upped his level, and has played like a potential Roland Garros champion in his last two matches against Gael Monfils and Karen Khachanov.

Khachanov had scored a fine victory over Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round, and defeated Thiem in their only previous at the Paris Masters last season, but the 25-year-old Thiem was way too good for the Russian, winning 6-2 6-4 6-2 in an hour and 48 minutes. He did not face a single break point throughout the match, scoring over 80% of points when his first serve goes into play. A clean performance also included 29 winners and 12 unforced errors.

Thiem has now reached the French Open semi-finals for the fourth consecutive year, and is 23-5 overall at Roland Garros. The world No. 4 is generally having a good year-  there have been a few poor results, like his second-round retirement from the Australian Open and opening round exits in Miami and Rome- but he has countered that with some strong results elsewhere, winning a maiden Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells, and adding the Barcelona title, where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals en route his biggest title on European clay. After a dodgy start at Roland Garros, the Austrian has been going at full pelt in the last couple of rounds, and was in similarly supreme form against Djokovic in the semis on Friday.

“I'm now in the semi-finals for the fourth time,” said Thiem before the start of the match. “It's incredibly difficult to win a Grand Slam, especially for us players who haven't won one yet, because if everything goes quite normal, we have to beat two players with 15 or more Grand Slam [titles].

Thiem is 2-6 against Djokovic, but after losing his first five matches against the Serbian, he has won two of the last three, and came very close to beating the world No. 1 for a third consecutive time in their most recent meeting in the Madrid semis, falling in two tie breaks at the Caja Magica- a result that gave Djokovic the 3-2 edge in their clay-court matches. They are 1-1 at Roland Garros, with Djokovic clobbering Thiem 6-2 6-1 6-4 in 2016, and the Austrian responding with a 7-6 6-3 6-0 in 2017.

Before the start of the match, I went for Djokovic to get the win, given how well Djokovic had played in Paris,- the quality of his defence and his super-human ability to consistently find depth and accuracy off his ground-stokes, but Thiem not only competed well on Friday, managing the conditions a lot better, and imposing his muscular brand of tennis on Djokovic. There's still plenty of tennis to be played, but Thiem has put himself in an excellent position to make back-to-back Roland Garros finals.

"I will step on the court tomorrow, try everything, of course, [and] give everything. I hope it's going to be positive in the end, but the challenge is huge", Thiem said.

He certainly did that on Friday- can he now finish it off on Saturday?

Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem is live from Roland Garros on Friday, 7 June from 2:50pm local time, 1:50pm BST

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Djokovic vs Thiem French Open Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Djokovic and Thiem to finish on Saturday with Thiem leading 6-2 3-6 3-1

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will resume their French Open semi-final on Saturday after bad weather stopped play on Friday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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