Austria's Dominic Thiem returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their men's singles quarter-final match on day ten of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 5, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON
Austria's Dominic Thiem returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their men's singles quarter-final match on day ten of The Roland Garros 2018 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 5, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

Austrian stuns second seed to enter third successive French Open semi-final

Paris : Dominic Thiem reached his third successive French Open semi-final on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of a hobbled and exhausted Alexander Zverev. German second seed Zverev simply ran out of gas, paying a heavy price for needing three successive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

His Roland Garros marathon also left him physically drained — he needed his left thigh strapped in the second set. “He is one of the fittest guys on the tour so it was difficult for him today,” said Thiem, the only man to have defeated 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on clay this year.

“I hope we have many more matches at the Grand Slams but when we are 100 percent.

“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.”

The statistics made bleak reading for Zverev — he finished with 42 unforced errors and just 19 winners. In a tight first set of a match played in overcast, heavy conditions, Thiem converted the only break point off a backhand winner in the seventh game before securing the opener with an ace. Zverev, who had spent more than two and a half hours than his Austrian opponent getting to this stage, hit 13 unforced errors to Thiem’s miserly eight. A double break took the 24-year-old Austrian to 4-1 in the second set before Zverev needed a medical timeout for a leg injury.

With his left thigh heavily strapped, the 21-year-old German was soon two sets down and looking at having to become the first player to win four consecutive five-setters if he was to make the semi-finals. Zverev managed just four winners in the second set.

There was no coming back for the big-hearted German who was quickly down 4-0 in the third before Thiem wrapped up the affair.

Keys beats Putintseva In the women’s singles quarter-finals, American 13th seed Madison Keys proved too strong for Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva as she reached semi-finals for the first time.

The 23-year-old, who lost to compatriot and good friend Sloane Stephens in last year’s US Open final, could next face a repeat of that match at Flushing Meadows after a 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 victory over world number 98 Putintseva.

“I really just had to focus because Yulia was playing so well, I knew I just had to make a few more balls,” said Keys, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Putintseva made the first significant move with a break in the seventh game, but failed to serve out the set as Keys found her range.

The Kazakh showed great resolve to force a tie-break, though, saving two set points on her own serve.

But the greater power of Keys paid dividends in the breaker, as the American finally took the opener on her fourth set point with her 18th winner.

Putintseva fought hard at the start of the second set, but Keys broke through to take a 4-3 lead with a rasping forehand return before confidently serving her way to the semi-finals.

Djoko bows out

The 2016 champion Novak Djokovic was beaten 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11) by Italian Marco Cecchinato in a late quarter-final match, after a battle that lasted nearly 3 ½ hours, which produced several scintillating rallies.

Djokovic saved three match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker before his 72nd-ranked rival converted his fourth with a backhand return winner.

Cecchinato became the lowest-ranked semi-finalist at Roland Garros since No. 100 Andrei Medvedev advanced to the last four back in 1999.

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