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Rediff.com  » Sports » French Open PIX: Cecchinato stuns Djokovic, Thiem crushes Zverev

French Open PIX: Cecchinato stuns Djokovic, Thiem crushes Zverev

Last updated on: June 05, 2018 23:14 IST

IMAGES from matches on Day 10 at the French Open at Roland Garros

Marco Cecchinato

IMAGE: Marco Cecchinato of Italy celebrates winning against Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Marco Cecchinato beat former champion and 12-time major winner Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6(4), 1-6, 7-6(11) at the French Open on Tuesday to become the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 40 years.

 

Cecchinato cruised through the opening set as Djokovic was suffering from neck pain before the Serbian fought back after the loss of the second. His opponent, however, was the stronger in an epic fourth-set tiebreak, prevailing on his fourth match point.

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The last Italian man to take part in a major semi-final was Corrado Barazzutti at the 1978 French Open.

The unseeded Cecchinato, who broke down in tears after the match, next faces Austrian Dominic Thiem for a place in Sunday's final.

Stephens powers past Kasatkina

Sloane Stephens

IMAGE: Sloane Stephens of the United States plays a forehand during the quarter-finals match against Daria Kasatkina of Russia. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Sloane Stephens set up a French Open semi-final showdown against fellow-American Madison Keys after comfortably overcoming wily Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday.

The 10th seed, who beat Keys to win the US Open last year, showed impressive patience in some cat-and-mouse exchanges and eventually overpowered the 21-year-old with her bigger game.

Stephens needed 42 minutes to win a first set full of long baseline rallies, but was unstoppable in the second set as Kasatkina's game began to crack.

"This is really exciting for American tennis and I'm really excited to play my really good friend," she said on court.

The 25-year-old had never got beyond the last 16 of the French Open until this year.

Keys rallies back to beat Putintseva

Madison Keys

IMAGE: Madison Keys of the US celebrates after winning her quarter-final match against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Madison Keys reached her maiden French Open semi-final, rallying from a break down in the opening set to claim a solid 7-6(5), 6-4 victory against Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva on Tuesday.

The American 13th seed, playing in her third consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, was 5-3 down in the first set when she stepped up a gear to advance without having lost a set.

She will take on either Russian Daria Kasatkina or 10th seed Sloane Stephens, nine months after her compatriot beat her in the US Open final.

"Thank you everyone for coming and supporting me, I did need a lot of support today," said Keys.

"In the first set, I just needed to focus more and trust my game."

"I'm obviously very happy to win in straight sets again and I look forward to the next match."

In humid conditions on Court Suzanne Lenglen, both players were solid on their serve with no break points in the first six games.

The unseeded Putintseva, who played more safely, had the first break opportunity in the seventh game, which she converted when Keys buried a backhand into the net.

Keys, however, broke back for 5-5 with a stunning forehand winner down the line and the set would be decided in a tiebreak.

Putintseva, who was hoping to become the first Kazakh player -- female or male -- to qualify for a Grand Slam semi-final, opened up a 2-0 lead, only for the American to score four points in a row and take control.

Keys bagged the set at the end of a long rally in which her opponent defended ferociously, gradually stepping into the court to end the exchange with a backhand winner.

Keys had the first break chance in the second set and a lightning quick service return gave her the edge as she moved 4-3 up.

She held serve until the end, prevailing on her first match point thanks to a powerful ace.

Thiem books semi-final spot

Dominic Thiem

IMAGE: Dominic Thiem of Austria plays a backhand during the quarter final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Austrian Dominic Thiem destroyed a lacklustre and battle-weary Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the French Open semi-finals for the third consecutive year.

Claycourt specialist Thiem's relentless accuracy from the baseline proved too much for second seed Zverev who looked jaded after a gruelling path to his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

After an even start full of high quality ball-striking, Thiem broke serve at 3-3 and quickly got on top, stretching his opponent all over Court Philippe Chatrier.

Second seed Zverev, 21, needed his left thigh strapped in the second set and looked disconsolate as Thiem widened his advantage with a clinical display of hitting.

Dominic Thiem

IMAGE: Austria's Dominic Thiem with Germany's Alexander Zverev after winning their quarter final match. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Thiem, seeded seventh, needed only 15 minutes to go 4-0 up in the third with Zverev barely running for wide balls.

Zverev began to let rip, snatching one game back, but the outcome was inevitable and Thiem put him out of his misery with a routine backhand winner into a wide-open court.

Thiem will face either former champion Novak Djokovic or unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato in the last four.

Source:
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