Thiem Reaches First Grand Slam Semi-Final
The Austrian prevails over Goffin in four sets
No. 13 seed Dominic Thiem has achieved a career milestone in advancing to his first Grand Slam semi-final, fighting off a set point in the second set to defeat No. 12 seed David Goffin, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-1.
He is only the third Austrian (joining Thomas Muster and Jurgen Melzer) to reach the final four at a major. Thiem is also guaranteed to make his debut inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings when next week's standings are released and will finish no lower than No. 7.
“In the entire second set, I didn't really think that I was going to win this match. He was the better player the first two sets or at least until the tie-break,” said Thiem. “I didn’t know what to do because he was returning well. He didn’t make any mistakes. I think the tie-break was the highest levels I’ve ever played and then things started to turn around.”
Goffin admitted he was left wondering what could have been had he converted on his set point in the tie-break.
“It would have been two sets for me and I was playing better than he was, so maybe the match would have been totally different,” said Goffin. “But he decided to hang on and he played better and better, even during the fourth set. Despite the rain and the very heavy conditions, he was hitting very strongly.”
The Belgian struggled on serve in the early stages of the match, dropping his first two service games and staring at a break point down 1-3. After holding serve, Goffin began to step into the court on his returns and put more pressure on Thiem, earning the break back with the Austrian serving at 4-3. With Thiem serving at 30/30 down 4-5, Goffin ripped a backhand return winner and then converted on his first set point opportunity.
A long game with Thiem serving at 3-4 in the second set saw both players have chances, but it was the Belgian who converted on his fifth break point after a backhand error from the Austrian. Goffin was unable to serve out the set at 5-3 and the Austrian went on to grab a commanding 5/2 lead in the tie-break, but couldn’t take advantage of a set point at 6/5. Goffin earned his own set point at 7/6, but Thiem erased it with a forehand and made good on his second set point at 8/7.
The third set once again saw significant shifts in momentum. Goffin regrouped strongly by breaking serve to start the third set, but Thiem eventually got even with a return winner to level the set at 4-4. Two games later, the Austrian earned set point with a backhand winner and took advantage of his opportunity to take a commanding lead.
Thiem appeared energized by having the momentum, extending his win streak to nine consecutive games with a 5-0 lead in the fourth set. The Austrian wrapped up the match on serve at 5-1.
He will now play No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic for a place in Sunday's final. Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, with both wins coming in straight sets. The two players have won more matches than anyone else on tour this year, with Djokovic at 42 wins and Thiem at 41.
“It’s going to be unbelievably tough. I think he's on a different level than all the other players, but I'm still in good shape and the match starts at 0-0,” said Thiem. “All I can do is give all I have and then we will see what happens.”
Spanish Duo Edges Former Champs
In quarter-final doubles action, No. 15 seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez of Spain saved six match points in beating 2014 champions Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Julien Benneteau of France, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(7). Lopez/Lopez were down 4-5, 0/40 in the second set and saved two more match points in the third-set tie-break. The win sets up a semi-final clash with No. 3 seeds and defending champions Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil. Marc Lopez will aim to reach his second doubles final at Roland Garros, having finished runner-up (w/Marcel Granollers) two years ago.