Thiem targets Nadal after ending Djokovic's 'Novak Slam' hopes
- Dominic Thiem will target a first French Open title on Sunday after defeating Novak Djokovic's to set up a clash with Rafael Nadal.
Dominic Thiem vowed to throw everything at Rafael Nadal in Sunday's French Open final after halting Novak Djokovic's chances of holding all four grand slams at the same time.
Serbian Djokovic was aiming to be in possession of all four majors simultaneously for the second time in his career.
But despite mounting a fightback from 4-1 down in the final set, the reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion could not fend off Austrian clay-court expert Thiem in their semi-final at Roland Garros.
Thiem completed a 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 triumph, in a match that began on Friday but spilled into the weekend due to rain in Paris. There was another long interruption on Saturday when clouds burst over Court Philippe-Chatrier, adding to the drama.
Now the 'King of Clay' awaits Thiem, who will hope to avoid a repeat of his fate in last year's final when Nadal saw him off in straight sets.
Nadal will be bidding to win a 12th French Open men's singles title and Thiem said: "The only time somebody reaches the final here it's against Rafa.
"It was an amazing experience last year and of course I'll try everything to be better this year.
"He's the favourite, of course. He's playing in his 12th final and for me it's only my second.
"But I'm looking forward to it and to let everything out on the court again and we'll see."
He and Djokovic contested a gripping match and Thiem pointed out it was his first five-set contest at the tournament.
"And it's good for a start that I picked this one," he said, speaking on court immediately after his match.
Thiem, 25, said it had been a thrill to be in the semi-final line-up alongside Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer, calling them "maybe the three best players of all time".
He added: "Every single time to beat one of them it's amazing, they've won more than 50 grand slams.
"So, it was unbelievable today for me."