2019 French Open Semi-final: Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem, Preview and Prediction
The 2019 French Open men’s semi-final stage will be lit up by three best players of modern tennis, along with the best young clay courter. The first semi-final between Federer and Nadal may be garnering the most eyeballs, but the second one is possibly going to be a much more evenly contested one.
In fact, the two players most likely to challenge Nadal’s quest for an unprecedented twelfth French Open crown will clash against each other in the second semi-final. Novak Djokovic, the world number one and the holder of three consecutive grand slams, will face last year’s finalist and the apparent heir to Nadal on clay, the affable Austrian, Dominic Thiem.
The two have faced each other eight times and Djokovic has won six out of those eight. However, on clay, the rivalry is much more even stevens. Of the five matches they have played, Thiem has managed to win two. Another interesting fact about this rivalry is that Djokovic won first five of their matches, whereas Thiem has won two of their three most recent encounters, one of which came at the quarterfinals of the 2017 French Open.
Djokovic’s path to the semi-final has been much more serene. He is yet to drop a set in the tournament. Against Alexander Zverev, except for some resistance in the first set, he was simply unstoppable. He was broken once in the match but he broke the German’s serve a whopping six times. This is in line with his superb return game on show in the entire tournament thus far.
Apart from the return game, which will also give him a lot of confidence is the fact that he has been serving extremely well and the opponents have found it very tough to break him. Against Zverev, his first serve win percentage was at a high eighty and he would certainly like to continue that form against Thiem.
As for Thiem, he has not had as smooth a run to the semi-final as his opponent. He has been involved in three tough four-setters. What is interesting to note though is that those three matches came in the first three rounds against unseeded players. But in the fourth round and the quarterfinal match, against tougher opponents like Gael Monfils and Khachanov, he has raised his game to a higher level and won in straight sets.
His performance in the quarters against the Russian was especially impressive. Like Djokovic, he too had an eighty percent first serve win percentage. He broke Khachanov five times and did not get broken once.
This semi-final between two great players, both high on confidence, promises to be a closely contested clash.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in Five Sets.