Dominic Thiem beats Alexander Zverev to reach French Open semi-finals
Austrian wins battle of rising stars of men's tennis and will take on unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato for a place in Sunday's final
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 05/06/18 7:48pm
Dominic Thiem ended the hopes of an exhausted Alexander Zverev at the French Open to reach his third-straight semi-final in Paris.
After fighting through three consecutive five-set match-wins, Zverev was hampered by a thigh injury, and the German second-seed inevitably ran out of steam with Thiem running out a 6-4 6-2 6-1 winner.
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Thiem, 24, is hoping to become the first Austrian to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster in 1995.
"He is one of the fittest guys on the tour so it was difficult for him today," said Thiem. "I hope we have many more matches at the Grand Slams but when we are 100 per cent.
"It's great to reach the semi-finals for a third year but it's time to take another step and I will do everything for that."
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The seventh-seeded Austrian broke Zverev for a 4-3 lead in the opening set with a perfectly executed single-handed backhand and closed out the set two games later.
Trailing 4-1 in the second Zverev called a trainer to receive treatment on his left thigh at the changeover. He returned to the court with his leg bandaged but succumbed under increasing pressure to drop two sets behind.
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Zverev was struggling on serve and unable to move fluently, despite finding his range with some big baseline winners. It was the dominant Thiem, who handed Rafael Nadal his only loss on clay in 2018, who eased through the third to claim a comfortable victory.
Zverev admitted his exertions had finally caught up with him after fighting through three consecutive five-setters and spent almost two and a half hours longer on court than Thiem.
"How close was I to pulling out? I thought about it. I definitely thought about it. I knew I wasn't going to win the match. There was no way for me. I mean, I could barely move. I couldn't serve. I couldn't really do anything," said the German.
Thiem will take on unseeded Italian Cecchinato for a place in the final after the Italian knocked out former champion Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 7-6 (13-11).
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