World number one Novak Djokovic and the Austrian Dominic Thiem will clash in the semi-final on Friday at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris as both recorded good wins against Tomas Berdych and David Goffin, respectively, on Thursday. The other semi-final will be played between world number two Andy Murray and the defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka.
Djokovic is now only two wins away from completing the career slam and an even more rare achievement – the non-calendar grand slam, after he dismissed the hapless Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. The Serb improved his career head to head mark to 24-2 against the seventh seeded Berdych.
In the other quarter final which was played on court Suzanne Lenglen, the no. 13 seed Thiem achieved a career milestone in advancing to his first Grand Slam semi-final, fighting off a set point in the second set to defeat the no. 12 seed David Goffin of Belgium.
Thiem is only the third Austrian to reach the last four of a grand slam joining the 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster and the 2010 semi finalist Juergen Melzer. He will also be ranked inside the top ten when the rankings are announced on Monday.
Thiem who won the warm up event in Nice before the French Open, was the first to break serve, but after saving a break point at 1-3 down in the first set the diminutive Belgian found his range and after trailing 3-4 in the opener reeled of the next five games and led 2-0 in the second set.
The Austrian got the break back but was in grave danger of going down by two sets as Goffin broke in the eighth game to go 5-3 up. Thiem broke back and took a 5-2 lead in the tie-break which he eventually won on his second set point 9 points to 7.
Goffin then led 4-2 in the third but Thiem would take the next nine games in a row. The eventual scoreline was 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-1. Goffin will move up by two spots to no. 11 in the rankings.
In the women’s quarter-final, the top seeded Serena Williams dropped the first set to the 60th ranked Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan before rallying to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. Williams had 36 winners in the match and now goes in to play Kiki Bertens of Netherlands in the last four.
Bertens who had upset the Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the earlier round ended the run of the Swiss Timea Bacsinszky with a 7-5, 6-2 win.
The following is the semi final line up with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) (42-3) v. Dominic Thiem (13) (41-10); Djokovic leads 2-0
Andy Murray (2) (27-5) v. Stanislas Wawrinka (3) (27-7); Murray leads 8-7
Serena Williams (1) v. Kiki Bertens ; Williams leads 1-0
Garbine Muguruza (4) v. Samantha Stosur (21) ; Stosur leads 1-0
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]