Paris - Fast-rising Austrian Dominic Thiem set up a French Open semi-final showdown with top seed Novak Djokovic by defeating Belgium's David Goffin in a tough four-setter on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Thiem won 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-1 to make the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time and underline his place at the topmost level.
But to go a step further he will have to defeat the the tournament's hot favourite, having lost both of his previous matches against Djokovic.
Chasing the one Grand Slam title he has yet to win, Djokovic earlier scored a comfortable straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych to make the last four.
"The first two sets were really good tennis. For both of us it was not easy with the conditions, but I am really happy right now," said Thiem.
"It's a bit unreal, but I am still in mid-tournament, so I have to focus for tomorrow or Saturday, I don't know when."
Both Thiem and 25-year-old Goffin were playing in a Grand Slam quarter-final for a first time.
In front of a couple of hundred spectators huddled into a damp and chilly Court Suzanne Lenglen, the Austrian took an early 3-1 lead with a break, but Goffin then took control winning five out of the next six games to take the first set 6-4.
Another break at the start of the second set gave Goffin the chance to pull away, but Thiem, who had won more matches on clay that any other player this year (24), rallied to level at 2-2.
Another exchange of breaks in what had become a classic claycourt war of attrition kept things level and forced a tie-break that saw both men fail to convert set points before the more aggressive Thiem edged it.
The slightly-built Goffin adopted a change of tactics to start the third, making several forays to the net and that paid dividends with an immediate break.
He held firmly on to that advantage until 4-3 when Thiem pegged him back again, breaking serve with a trademark forehand drive down the line.
He then set up two set points two games later with some more beefy hitting and converted the first of those when Goffin failed to cope with a deep forehand drive.
Thiem was on top now, dominating Goffin with his greater weight of shot,and back-to-back breaks at the start of the fourth meant the way was clear for Thiem to record one of the biggest wins of his fledgling career.