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Thiem vs Khachanov French Open Preview, Predictions and Live streaming: Khachanov stands between Thiem and fourth consecutive Roland Garros semi-final

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 6 Jun 2019
  • Dominic Thiem vs Karen Khachanov is live from Roland Garros on Thursday, 6 June from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30pm BST
  • Khachanov won their only previous meeting at last year's Paris Masters
Dominic Thiem (PA Sport)

Dominic Thiem attempts to reach the semi-finals of the French Open for the fourth straight year when he takes on Russia's Karen Khachanov- a first-time major quarter-finalist- on Thursday.

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After consecutive four-set wins over Tommy Paul, Alexander Bublik and Pablo Cuevas, Thiem delivered his best performance of the 2019 French Open so far in the fourth round, beating Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 6-2 to take his place in the quarter finals.

The Austrian went into the match vs. Monfils with a perfect 4-0 record against the Frenchman, but given Thiem's unconvincing start to the tournament, relative to Monfils, who hadn't lost a set up until that point, Thiem's French Open campaign looked in real danger.

However, through a combination of a very focused Thiem, and a shockingly poor start by Monfils, the Austrian raced out to a 4-0, and while Monfils improved significantly after that, and got one of the breaks back, Thiem served out the first set at the second time of asking.

A much more even contest broke out in the second set, with Monfils, showing off his wide array of shot-making and athleticism, being arguably the better player through the first half of the set, but Thiem stepped up when it mattered most, bringing up the first break point of the set with an inside-in forehand winner, and getting the break after a Monfils backhand error. The loss of that second set seemed to break Monfils' resistance. Thiem turned the screws early in the third set, breaking for the 2-1 lead, and he broke again for 5-2 before serving out the match after an hour and 48 minutes.

“It was a really good match, my best match so far in this tournament,” said Thiem, who hit 27 winners and just 14 unforced errors. “It was the first match for me at this tournament, where it didn't have any up-and-downs. It was really solid. I'm very happy."

Thiem improves to 22-5 at Roland Garros, while he has won 20 of his last 23 matches at the venue. He fell in the second round in his first two appearances at Roland Garros in 2014 and 2015, but he has reached at least the semi-finals in each of the least three years, advancing to his first major final last year before falling to Rafael Nadal. Three of Thiem's five Roland Garros defeats have been against Nadal, one was against Novak Djokovic (2016) and the other against Pablo Cuevas (2015).

He may have to beat Djokovic and Nadal in consecutive matches if he is to win his maiden Roland Garros title next Sunday.

Thiem already boasts two titles this season- he claimed his first Masters 1000 crown at Indian Wells, and won the Barcelona Open, beating Rafael Nadal along in the semi-finals. He also made the semi-finals in Madrid, falling to Djokovic in two tie breaks. It has not been the most consistent of campaigns for the Austrian, as he has failed to win back-to-back matches in six of the 11 tournaments he's played this year. 

He's put together four straight wins in Paris, and he isn't done yet. The 25-year-old will attempt to reach a fourth straight Roland Garros semi-final when he plays Karen Khachanov.

Khachanov is contesting his first Grand Slam quarter final, and looked really good in his fourth round victory over Juan Martin del Potro.

The Russian had a difficult start to the season, suffering opening round defeats in eight of his ten tournaments between January and the start of May, but it's all just starting to come together again for him in the last few weeks.

Khachanov hinted at a return to form when he reached the third round in Rome, and he has continued on that path of improvement at Roland Garros, beating Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Gregoire Barrerre, and Martin Klizan, before taking out del Potro 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-3 for his first top-ten win at a major, and his first victory over the Argentine in his fourth attempt.  Khachanov rifled 58 winners and limited his enforced error count to 35, which was OK, given the way he was swinging.

Khachanov is actually now on a ten-match winning streak in Paris, as he also had won the Paris Masters in superb fashion at the end of last season, beating four top-ten players, including Novak Djokovic, en route a maiden Masters 1000 title. He won two other titles last season- Marseille and Moscow, reached the fourth rounds at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, all of which pushed him to a year-end ranking of No. 11. He will make his top-ten debut when the rankings are updated after Roland Garros. 

“That's what I'm working for, to live moments like this," Khachanov said. "When you win matches like this, you're just happy. You're just happy for all the efforts that you have done before, for all the matches that you played. You're just thankful for a team and family, so thinking about that."

Will he continue this breakthrough run by taking down Thiem on Thursday?

Khachanov won their only previous meeting at the Paris Masters last year, but there is a significant different between the indoor hard courts of Paris-Bercy and the clay courts of Roland Garros. Khachanov is very dangerous and can be very intimidating with that forehand, but Thiem isn't lacking firepower either.

“I will try to do my best against him," Khachanov said. "Here he reached three years in a row not less than the semi-finals. So for sure he's one of the top ones on clay. But I will try to fight and let's see."

Beyond the firepower, which Thiem is abundantly blessed with, the Austrian has also got the defence to blunt the opposition, especially on this surface. Thiem has a lot more variety to work with as he’s got a good backhand slice, and is more competent at the net. Khachanov can blast his way to a set, but Thiem should be too good in the end.

Dominic Thiem vs Karen Khachanov is live from Roland Garros on Thursday, 6 June from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30pm BST

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Thiem vs Khachanov French Open Preview, Predictions and Live streaming: Khachanov stands between Thiem and fourth consecutive Roland Garros semi-final

Dominic Thiem attempts to reach his fourth straight French Open semi-final when he plays Karen Khachanov on Thursday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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