Novak Djokovic lost his match in the quarter final against the excellent clay player Dominic Thiem from Austria. Earlier we saw him playing Marcel Granollers from Spain. Granollers didn’t played bad at all. He moved well and managed to return shots which the audience (and Djokovic) considered to be certain points for the Serbian. It brought him ‘the shot of the day’ and a high-five of Djokovic, but not the match. At the end of the day it was Djokovic who left the court as the winner after he thanked the audience together with the ball kids.
But Djokovic’s game is not as convincing as it was in the previous years. Nevertheless after his wins against Sousa (6-1, 6-4, 6-3), Swartzman (5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1) and Ramos-Vinolas (7-6(5), 6-1, 6-3), he reached the quarter finals to play against Dominic Thiem. According to himself he already lost the match in the first set by not being able to win the tiebreak. Thiem directly broke the Serbian at the beginning of the second set. Thiem played constantly on a very high level and Djokovic seemed to surrender. In third set we never saw his fighting spirit, but instead, a lot of unforced errors. The game of the Austrian was a totally different story. With both his beautiful one-handed backhand and his strong forehand Dominic produced a lot of great winners. In the semifinal he will meet Rafael Nadal. Although Rafa once again is playing extremely well, he never really was tested so far during the tournament. Even in the quarter final he didn’t had to do that much work since his opponent Pablo Carreno Busta retired because of an injury ( 6-2; 2-0).
Not many people ever won from Nadal on clay. Thiem did; not in the distant past, but this year in the finals in Rome. So Rafa has been warned. The match against Thiem will be very interesting.
YOU CAN SEE THE FULL PICTURES AND SLIDE SHOW OF MATCH DJOKOVIC-GRANOLLERS. CLICK ON ANY PHOTO AND THE PICTURES ARE SHOWN AT FULL SIZE!