Dominic Thiem defeated Novak Djokovic in a dramatic semi-final to set up French Open final with 11 times champion Rafael Nadal.
The semi-final which lasted a little over 4 hours was shifted from Friday to Saturday after Djokovic refused to play citing “hurricane” conditions as the reason. The decision to call off play on Friday was criticised particularly because the weather had considerably eased off by the time the decision was taken.
Moreover, Djokovic’s insistence of discontinuing the semi-final on Friday has now put Thiem at a disadvantage since Sunday will be the third consecutive day he will have to fight it out in the Tennis Court. On the other hand, Nadal has enjoyed a couple of days break since his semi-final victory over Roger Federer.
The Austrian who ended Djokovic’s 26-match Grand Slam winning streak was clearly the better play on the day enroute to his 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Djokovic. With this, Thiem also destroyed Djokovic’s dream of holding all the Grand Slams of the year.
Studded with athletic rallies and top hand shots, the match ultimately came down to nerves and better handling of the situation. This is where Djokoic failed as he seemed to have lost his cool because of the weather conditions.
However, playing Rafael Nadal, the 11-time French Open champion, will be a different challenge altogether for the world number four and he will have to play out of his skin to clinch the title.
“To play Rafa here on this court is always the ultimate challenge, one of the toughest challenges in sports,” said Thiem at a post-match press conference.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity. I said last year that I hope to get another chance in a Grand Slam final and do better then, so tomorrow there is the chance. I think it’s really important that I go into the match with the belief to win. That’s the most important thing”, he added.
The French Open 2019 final will begin from 6:30 pm (IST) live from the Philippe-Chatrier court in Paris, France.