Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Thiem targets Nadal after ending Djokovic's 'Novak Slam' hopes

Thiem targets Nadal after ending Djokovic's 'Novak Slam' hopes

Thiem downed the world number one 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 to set up a repeat of last year's final against 11-time victor and defending champion Rafael Nadal.

The semi-final will resume at 8pm (AEST) on Saturday, organisers said. It's probably a little bit more hard to play these four hours with all the interruption than if you played in one time. Nadal got 82 percent of his first serves in play and saved two of his four break points.

He could also move to within two of Federer on the all-time Grand Slam title winners' list with an 18th major on Sunday.

The match had been controversially suspended on Friday night with the match at one set each but with Thiem up 3-1 in the third and with all the momentum on his side.

Nadal, 33, will be the fresher of whoever he faces on Sunday.

He proved his grit and determination against Djokovic - himself arguably the most dogged competitor out there - by prevailing in four-hour semifinal, despite a wobble in the fifth set that could have changed the outcome. However, the Austrian won their most recent meeting on clay in the semi-finals in Barcelona in April in straight sets.

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While bidding to win a maiden Grand Slam, the Austrian could also become just the second man from his country to win one of the big four men's singles titles, replicating the success of Thomas Muster at Roland-Garros in 1995.

Asked to describe the conditions, Djokovic added: "One of the worst conditions I have ever been part of".

"But still, I had some very good matches in the past against him on clay, and I also beat him on clay already". On that occasion the Spaniard edged a tight first set to win through in straight sets for an 11th Roland Garros title and a 17th major overall.

Nadal and Thiem have been the two best players on clay during the season and it is only fitting that they meet in the final.

Austria's Dominic Thiem had reason to celebrate Saturday after weathering yet another rain delay to defeat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Day 2 of their rain-halted semifinal at Roland Garros. If it is not hot and there is little wind, Thiem's power will come to the fore and Nadal's excessive spin, especially on the forehand, will be less effective.

Top seed Djokovic had been increasingly frustrated with the conditions on court with high winds kicking up the clay. "And they said there is no chance", said the Chilean.

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