Thiem reaches third straight French Open semi-final

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

After six opening games were shared, seventh seed Thiem ran away with a 6-4 6-2 6-1 victory to reach his third consecutive French Open semi-final.

Djokovic, meanwhile, dominated the rally exchanges in his meeting with Verdasco to secure the first set and an early break against the Spaniard, who is ranked at No. 35 in the world.

"I think he can definitely go to the final".

He came up against an inspired Cecchinato though and wasted three set points to drag the match, played out in a soccer-like atmosphere on Court Suzanne Lenglen, into a decider. Middle of the second set, the pain was too much. He and Russia's Karen Khachanov, the youngest men remaining in the men's singles last 16, combined to finish a tough battle in nearly three and a half hours, where Zverev came back from 2-1 down to ultimately win 4-6, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Stephens, the 10th seed, had previously made the fourth round for four successive seasons and will next play either Australian Open champion and second seed Caroline Wozniacki or Russia's Daria Kasatkina.

In his record 12th French Open quarterfinal, Novak Djokovic will face a man he knows well, even if the rest of the world does not.

"There is no point where I would say that it's not working".

"I don't know if I'm going to play on grass", Djokovic told a media conference room minutes after walking off court.

Third-seed pair of Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez survived a mid-match blip to beat Serena and Venus Williams 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-0 in the women's doubles clash.

The second seed's first appearance in the last eight of a grand slam ended in disappointment, as he suffered a one-sided defeat on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Madison Keys celebrates victory over Yulia Putintseva. He has already won two titles - in Madrid and Munich and also finished runner-up in Rome last month.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens cruised past Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-0, 6-2 to book a last-eight spot for the first time.

"I think that's the matchup most of the fans in Germany and Austria were hoping for when they saw the draw", said Thiem.

"The first two sets were awesome but then he raised his level and it was 50-50", said Thiem of Nishikori.

A tired backhand saw Zverev lose his serve again at the start of the second set, and despite earning a break point in the following game - which Thiem saved after a spectacular all-court rally - the match evaporated as a contest after that. Unfortunately, it took me time to get well, and struggled with a little injury, as well, at the beginning.

It took Djokovic and Nadal - who were to be the eventual champions - to stop him in the Roland Garros semi-finals in 2016 and 2017. The unseeded Cecchinato, who broke down in tears after the match, next faces Thiem for a place in Sunday's final.

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