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Disgruntled Novak Djokovic exits French Open

Disgruntled Novak Djokovic exits French Open

Austrian Dominic Thiem crushed Novak Djokovic's French Open hopes as he survived a weather-ravaged semi-final spanning 24 hours to complete a 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory today and set up a repeat of last year's showdown with Rafael Nadal.

Thiem spent nearly three hours on court Saturday after proceedings were paused with the 25-year-old ahead 3-1 in the third Friday.

Thiem faces 11-time French Open victor Rafael Nadal in the men's final for the second straight year.

Nadal, seeded second this year, has never lost in the final at the French Open, and aside from last year's straight sets win over Thiem he also has two other straight sets wins over the Austrian under his belt in Paris. The Serb had been on a 26-match winning streak and aiming to become the first player in the modern era to hold all four Grand Slam titles twice.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. I'm here in the semi-final with maybe the three best players of all time, every single time to beat any of them is fantastic, they all won 15 or more Grand Slams and it was a great day for me. They walloped the ball from all angles.

In still blustery conditions in Paris - though not almost as windy as Friday - Djokovic became agitated when chair umpire Jaume Campistol handed him a time violation warning while serving at 5-6, 30-15 in the third set.

For whatever reason, Djokovic often felt compelled to try to shorten points often, hardly his usual strategy. Thiem, meanwhile, took 18 of 20 on his more judicious forays forward. Djokovic wouldn't let it go, complaining so much he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The lack of focus drifted into his choices during points, too, including a mediocre volley that let Thiem deposit a backhand passing victor for a fourth set point.

After forcing a fifth, Djokovic faltered again, getting broken to trail 3-1 when he missed a volley, before Thiem held for 4-1, shortly before rain came.

Seconds later a howling rain squall sent the players off court for more than an hour and when they returned Thiem looked poised to win when serving at 5-3 and 40-15. I understand they've been fully refunded, but now they obviously don't get to see the semi-final that they paid to see which, some days in the past they've offered tickets back for the next day.

The Austrian had two match points but choked as Djokovic went to 5-5. Except, Thiem just couldn't close.

As the drop shots accumulated, Djokovic comfortably got to one of Thiem's but pushed his forehand long. Slapped a backhand into the net. Hard to recover from that sort of collapse, especially against someone like Djokovic.

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