Paris - Defending
champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of the French Open on Wednesday,
sparking fresh fears over his appetite for the sport he once dominated
as Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray made the semi-finals.
World number two Djokovic slumped to a stunning 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0
quarter-final loss to Dominic Thiem for his earliest exit in Paris in
Nadal, chasing a 10th Roland Garros title, will face 23-year-old Thiem after making the last four without breaking sweat.
He was 6-2, 2-0 up on Pablo Carreno Busta when his Spanish compatriot quit with an abdominal injury.
Friday's other semi-final will pitch world number one Murray, the
runner-up to Djokovic in 2016, against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.
Murray made the semi-finals for the fifth time with a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1 win over Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori.
Wawrinka became the oldest French Open semi-finalist in 32 years when he brushed aside Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
Djokovic, who had brought in Andre Agassi as coach in an effort to
boost his flagging career, hinted he may step back from the sport to
regroup even with Wimbledon fast approaching.
"Trust me, I'm thinking about many things, especially in the last couple months," he said.
"At the same time, I have responsibility to the game itself, towards
others. We'll see. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make, but I
will see how I feel after Roland Garros and then decide what to do
Wednesday's defeat to Thiem was Djokovic's first straight-sets loss
at a major in four years and comes just 12 months after he completed the
career Grand Slam in Paris.
He then also held all four majors and became the first man to break the $100 million prize money barrier.
Wednesday saw him suffer a first 6-0 'bagel' at a Slam since the 2005
US Open while the defeat will see him slip out of the world's top two
for the first time in six years.
"All the top players go through this. It's a big challenge but I am
up for it," said Djokovic who was also runner-up in Paris in 2012, 2014
Thiem had lost to the Serb in the semi-finals last year and took just one game in a straight-sets loss in Rome in May.
His shock quarter-final victory was his first in six meetings with the 12-time major winner.
Austrian sixth seed Thiem is the only man to beat Nadal on clay this
year -- his Rome quarter-final success offsetting losses in the final in
Barcelona and Madrid.
"It's going to be the toughest match you can imagine," admitted the 23-year-old.
Fourth seed Nadal recorded his 100th best-of-five-sets victory on clay - from just 102 matches.
He will be playing in his 10th semi-final in Paris and has made it having lost just 22 games through five matches.
Bjorn Borg surrendered just 32 games on his way to the 1978 French Open, but Nadal insisted he has no interest in such records.
"I don't know how many games I lost this year, but I really don't
care about this. I only care that I am in the semi-finals," said Nadal.
Murray advanced to his fourth straight semi-final in Paris, defeating
Nishikori to avenge his loss to the Japanese star at the US Open last
The Scot set up a semi-final rematch with third seed Wawrinka after
beating the Swiss in four sets at the same stage a year ago.
"He's played fantastic this tournament so far," Murray said of the
32-year-old, the oldest Roland Garros semi-finalist since Jimmy Connors
Like Nadal and Thiem, Wawrinka has not lost a set on his way to a third successive semi-final at Roland Garros.
"It was perfect today, I'm very satisfied," said reigning US Open champion Wawrinka after a 12th win in 14 meetings with Cilic.
French Open results on Wednesday, the 11th day of the 2017 tournament at Roland Garros (x denotes seeding):
Andy Murray (GBR x1) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x7) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x20) 6-2, 2-0 retired
Dominic Thiem (AUT x6) bt Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0
Simona Halep (ROM x3) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x5) 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-0
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x2) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA x28) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4