French Open 2017: Studio analysis: Defeat raises many questions for Novak Djokovic

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 8, 2017

The red-clay seas parted again for Rafael Nadal, while Novak Djokovic played like a waterlogged version of his former self.

Bacsinszky beat Mladenovic in three tight sets in their last meeting, a Fed Cup tie in February.

Incredibly, Djokovic completely fell apart in the third set, lacking the fight and penetration that have defined a career that has yielded 12 Grand Slam titles.

The Mallorcan was in superb form previous year before a wrist injury forced him to abandon the tournament after the third round.

"I was expecting a very tough game", said Halep, the 2014 French Open runner-up.

Pliskova reached the U.S. Open final a year ago, but the Czech player had never been past the second round at Roland Garros in five previous appearances. "I just have to watch that I'm not giving [Nadal] his favorite positions on the forehand".

While Thiem's part in Djokovic's downfall should not be overlooked, it was the Serbian world number two's astonishing collapse that was the talk of Roland Garros.

"We'll see. Obviously it's not an easy decision to make, but I will see how I feel after Roland Garros and then decide what to do next". On Friday, (it's) Nadal. "In the finals there is another top star".

World No. 1 Andy Murray and 2015 victor Stan Wawrinka will square off in the semifinals for the second straight year after the Scot eliminated Japan's Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-0) 6-1 and the Swiss eased past Croatia's Marin Cilic 6-3 6-3 6-1. Pliskova beat Caroline Garcia 7-6 (3), 6-4.

The set was over in 20 minutes with Djokovic having won just eight points, leaving the court with plenty to ponder ahead of Wimbledon next month. It's only the second time Djokovic lost a final set by the score of 6-0 in his 937 career tour-level matches.

"It's hard to comment (on) the third set". "Just pretty bad set".

The second-seeded Djokovic had two set points in the opener but couldn't convert either. Thiem erased the first with a forehand volley and the other with a service victor that prompted Djokovic to roll his eyes.

Djokovic's backhand really let him down in the tiebreaker: All seven points won by Thiem ended with that stroke.

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In all, Djokovic made almost twice as many unforced errors, 35, as winners, 18. "I'm feeling like I'm missing consistency", Djokovic said.

"Of course, it's good to have conserved your energy, but for Thiem I think I'd have liked to see him answer a few more questions", the Swede, in Paris as a presenter for Eurosport's daily flagship show "Game, Set and Mats", told Reuters. That's what happened today.

Still, how unlikely was this result? He's back to his dominant self on clay, sweeping through the first five matches without being seriously challenged.

Going by their rankings and head-to-head history, Djokovic was the clear favourite to reach the semifinals.

Now he is at a crossroads of sorts.

Carreno Busta eventually returned to the arena, sporting a bandage just above his left hip but he last just two more games after resuming.

Along the way, he split with one of his coaches, Boris Becker, and then his other, Marian Vajda, along with other members of his entourage.

On Wednesday, he wouldn't rule out some time off. I have to get through it and learn the lessons and come back stronger.

"But I am trying to work on things".

The 23-year-old now faces fourth seed and nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.

World number one Andy Murray, who has been improving since arriving in Paris, takes on Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori, who was handed his first grand-slam bagel in six years in the third round.

The 30-year-old Serb, who has prevailed in some of the sport's epic battles on the way to 12 major titles, was barely recognisable as he capitulated in a 7-6 (5) 6-3 6-0 defeat by Austrian Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals. Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Earlier, Nadal defeated fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta, who withdrew with abdominal pain after 51 minutes of play.

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