'Garbage' man Murray, red hot Nadal eye dream final

It is a repeat of last year's semi-final when Andy Murray produced arguably his greatest match on clay to defeat reigning champion Stan Wawrinka. Thiem has considerable power and craft and a useful pragmatic streak, which he displayed when asked about Nadal's bludgeoning forehand.

Murray arrived in France suffering from a fever, the latest woe in a season which has seen him endure an elbow injury, flu and shingles.

"To beat him for the first time in the quarters of the French Open is a dream".

Thiem is entering only his second Grand Slam semi-final.

His form in Paris has sent out mixed messages.

He wasted two set points in the opener.

Then, in what was expected to be a third-round ambush, he sailed past Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets and was similarly at ease against Karen Khachanov in the last 16.

That's how you go from battling in a first-set tiebreak to walking off the courtembarrassed just 63 minutes later.

"Wawrinka in these Majors, he is as big a favourite as (Roger) Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray these days, no difference between the five of them".

Before this year's edition of the French Open kicked off some ten days ago, the tournament appeared to be poised to welcome a new champion into its midst.

He should also be the fresher having spent just under eight hours on court through five rounds. Thiem's ability to strike from that side, even when deep in the court, off the back foot is a unique ability in tennis, hitting winners from positions that even Wawrinka might not dream of.

Bjorn Borg surrendered just 32 games on his way to the 1978 title, but Nadal insisted he has no interest in such records.

"If that's going to be this year or next year, in two years, I don't know".

Novak Djokovic yesterday insisted that he still has the hunger to regain his status as the best player in the world, but did not rule out taking a break from the sport.

A three-time champion at Roland Garros, Kuerten will be honored before Sunday's final when he will receive his Hall of Fame ring during a ceremony marking 20 years since he won his first title in Paris.

No. 1 Andy Murray vs.

Djokovic dropped serve at the start of the second set and the expected backlash never materialized as Thiem marched toward the last four with unexpected ease.

"He was pushing me all the time, so it was tough for me to find any solution".

It happened at Roland Garros in 1968 and at this year's Australian Open.

Djokovic piled on the pressure when Thiem served at 4-5 and he had his man in trouble at 15-40.

Paris: Dominic Thiem demolished defending champion Novak Djokovic in a stunning French Open upset on Wednesday, setting up a semi-final duel against nine-time champion Rafael Nadal. Thiem's second win over Nadal was in their most recent meeting in Rome, in which the Austrian hit Rafa off the court for the loss of just seven games in a straight sets quarterfinal win.

The shock of the day was Djokovic's exit at the hands of Dominic Thiem, who described his next challenge of facing Rafael Nadal as "the toughest match you can imagine".

  • Julie Sanders