Novak Djokovic ends Dominic Thiem's winning run to reach Madrid Open final
World No 1 will face Stefanos Tsitsipas after preventing Austrian from reaching third successive clay court final
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 12/05/19 2:55pm
Novak Djokovic ended Dominic Thiem's eight-match winning run on clay with a resolute performance to reach his third Madrid Open final.
The world No 1 defeated the Barcelona Open champion and Monte-Carlo Masters runner-up 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) to remain on course for his first title since the Australian Open in January.
Djokovic had lost his past two meetings against Thiem but delivered a message of intent to his rivals before the French Open and will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas after the 20-year-old Greek knocked out five-time champion Rafael Nadal.
The top seed was broken in the third game of the match by Thiem, who saved two match points on his way to a three-set victory against Roger Federer on Friday, as he struggled to adjust to the Austrian's clever use of the slice.
But Djokovic responded immediately as he broke the world No 5's serve before the Serb saved two break points in a difficult ninth game in which he received two time violations.
The 15-time Grand Slam champion lost the first point of the tiebreak on serve but then won the next five on his way to winning the first set.
Did you know?
When Novak Djokovic has won his two previous Madrid Open semi-finals he has gone on to win the title in 2011 and 2016.
Djokovic was forced to save a break point in each of his opening two service games and the top seed was docked a first serve for another time violation as he hit a second serve ace on his way to making it 2-2.
Sustained pressure from Thiem eventually paid off for the world No 5 as he sealed a break on his fifth opportunity of the second set to lead 4-2.
Djokovic demonstrated good composure to produce an impressive returning game to break back immediately before he broke the Austrian for a third time to lead 6-5.
The top seed delivered an uncharacteristic service game to enable Thiem to force a second tie-break but Djokovic proved the more consistent force to seal a hard fought victory.
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