Djokovic gets past Dominic Thiem to reach the Madrid Open final
Novak Djokovic is through to the final of the Madrid Open after a hard-fought semi-final win over Dominic Thiem.
Djokovic stepped onto Court Manolo Santana with the advantage of a day’s rest after his quarter-final opponent Marin Cilic withdrew with illness, while Thiem had to battle past Roger Federer in three entertaining sets.
But it was Thiem who made the better start breaking Djokovic early on and taking a 3-1 lead. Unsurprisingly, Djokovic got himself back level at 3-3 after a brilliant returning game.
Thiem did have two break points to lead 5-4 but Djokovic held on and in the eventual tiebreak the world No 1 showed his class.
Djokovic won five points in a row in the breaker and won the opening set when Thiem went long with a forehand return.
In the second set, Thiem broke to lead 4-2 but another brilliant returning game from Djokovic allowed him to break straight back.
Djokovic then broke Thiem again to give himself the chance to serve out the match at 6-5 but the 15-Grand Slam champion’s serve went AWOL and the set went to another tiebreak.
And in the breaker, Thiem double-faulted to hand Djokovic a 5-3 and the top seed sealed a crucial win on his serve.
Djokovic said: “I played the best match of the clay court season so far for me against arguably the best tennis player in the world on this surface.
“He had an amazing tournament in Barcelona, he beat Roger here yesterday in a thrilling match so he was in form.
“[It] was very tough conditions, very fast, ball bouncing very high. Thiem next to Rafa probably plays with the most spin on the tennis tour right now.
“It’s very difficult to stay close to the line and try to dictate the play but I just managed to play the best when it was most needed.”