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Novak Djokovic’s 26-match Grand Slam winning streak has ended in the French Open semifinals. The loss comes because he made some odd strategic choices, because the wild weather bothered him and because the chair umpire got under his skin. Mostly, though, because Dominic Thiem managed to outperform Djokovic at his own brand of defense-to-offense, speed-and-power baseline game. Thiem won in five sets and will play Rafael Nadal for the title.
Ash Barty defeated Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3 to win the French Open for her first Grand Slam title. Barty is the first Australian to win the championship at Roland Garros since 1973. It caps a quick rise to the top of tennis after her return to the sport. She had taken a break to play cricket. Says Barty: “I played the perfect match today.”
Novak Djokovic is poised to become only the second man in history to hold all four major titles at once on two separate occasions. Djokovic beat Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the French Open semifinals. Djokovic will be back on the court after only one day for the semifinals against Dominic Thiem. Thiem rolled past 10th-seeded Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 .
The French Open semifinal between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal comes 15 years after their first match against each other. For tennis’ sake, maybe this won’t be their last meeting with a lot on the line. Given that Federer is 37 and Nadal 33, who knows? Then again, why write either of these guys off now?
Seventeen-year-old American Amanda Anisimova has upset defending champion Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4 in the French Open quarterfinals. The 51st-ranked Anisimova’s first Grand Slam semifinal will come against another player making her debut in that round of a major. No. 8 seed Ash Barty of Australia advanced by beating No. 14 Madison Keys of the United States 6-3, 7-5. Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will meet in the men’s semifinals.
When the French Open ends, its Court No. 1 will bid adieu, too, demolished to make way for a grassy gathering place at Roland Garros. In a sign of the times, the arena’s final event Sunday will not be a tennis match, but an esports competition.
The second full-day washout at the French Open since 2000 made a mess of the schedule and raised the possibility that the Grand Slam tournament will not finish on time. Tournament director Guy Forget said there is a chance that the women’s singles final could be delayed from Saturday to Sunday.
Johanna Konta produces a remarkably dominant performance against Sloane Stephens in a 6-1, 6-4 victory to become the first British woman to reach the French Open semifinals since Jo Durie in 1983. Konta’s semifinal opponent will be 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, who wasted a 5-2 lead in the second before finally converting her fourth match point for a 7-6 (1), 7-5 victory over 31st-seeded Petra Martic.
Leave replay review to other tennis tournaments and other sports. The French Open does things its way and relies on eyes instead of electronics to get officiating calls right. That leads to a bit of choreography on clay whenever a player disagrees with a ruling. Do not expect a change anytime soon. The tournament director tells the AP he doesn’t expect the French Open to add a review system.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet again at the French Open. Their matchup in the semifinals will be the sixth time they’ve played each other at Roland Garros. Nadal is 5-0 in those other matchups. These are two titans of tennis: Federer holds the men’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles and Nadal is next with 17. Nadal has won 11 of those trophies in Paris.
Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are out of the French Open. Williams’ bid for Grand Slam title No. 24 ends with her earliest loss at a major tournament in five years. She is beaten in the third round by 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin. Top-ranked Osaka couldn’t muster another comeback and falls to Katerina Siniakova to end her run of 16 straight Slam wins.
Like a rock star back on tour after years away, Roger Federer is playing his greatest hits in Paris: the over-the-shoulder volley winner, the sliced backhand returns, the aces to erase break points. He is into the fourth round at the French Open and has yet to drop a set. His latest victory came against Christian Ruud, whose father was in the draw when Federer made his French Open debut in 1999.
Naomi Osaka again got off to a terrible start at the French Open. And the No. 1 seed again prevailed. Osaka went down a set and a break against former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka before coming back to win in three sets and stretch her Grand Slam winning streak to 16 matches. Serena Williams had a much easier time in her second-round match.
Roger Federer’s next opponent at the French Open is the son of someone who was in the field the first time Federer entered the tournament back in 1999. Maybe that’s why the 37-year-old Federer joked he’s “so super old” on the traditional Kids’ Day at Roland Garros. Federer and fellow 30-somethings Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka all won in straight sets. No. 4 seed Kiki Bertens left the women’s bracket because she was sick.
Once again, Nicolas Mahut fell on his back on the red clay of Roland Garros. But this time it was to celebrate a joyful moment, and not because his doubles partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert had knocked him down like he did in the semifinals of the French Open.
Sloane Stephens was 6-0 in tournament finals until letting a lead slip away and finishing as the runner-up to Simona Halep at the French Open. A year ago at this time, Stephens sat out the French Open while she put in the work it would take to get back on tour after having foot surgery. Then, less than six months ago, Stephens was exiting the Australian Open in the first round, part of an eight-match losing skid.
The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay this year was Dominic Thiem. And the only man to beat Nadal on clay last year was Thiem. So if anyone could head into the French Open final with even the slightest reason to think there’s a chance of preventing Nadal from winning a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, it is his opponent, Thiem. This will be Thiem’s debut in a Grand Slam final.
Simona Halep now has a Grand Slam title to go with her No. 1 ranking. She came back to beat No. 10 Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the French Open final. The match was Halep’s fourth major final. That includes two runner-up finishes at Roland Garros and one at the Australian Open. Stephens won the U.S. Open last year. Says Halep: “I just tried not to repeat the same as last year. I did everything I could.”
Rafael Nadal turned things around with the help of two rain delays and came back to beat Diego Schwartzman in four sets in the French Open quarterfinals. Next up for 10-time champion Nadal will be a semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro. The big-hitting Argentine reached his first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009 by defeating Marin Cilic in four sets.
No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania will face No. 10 Sloane Stephens of the US in the French Open women’s final after each won in straight sets to get there. Halep beat Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4, and Stephens defeated her friend Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 in the first all-American semifinal at Roland Garros since 2002.