PARIS (AP) — Novak Djokovic’s 26-match Grand Slam winning streak ended in the French Open semifinals because he made some odd strategic choices, because the wild weather bothered him, 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 put an end to the No. 1-ranked Djokovic’s bid for a fourth consecutive major championship Saturday with a dramatic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory in a wind-whipped and rain-interrupted match that spanned more than four hours over two days.
“I don’t want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss,” said Djokovic, who had won nine of his past 10 five-setters and was 29-9 overall in such matches. “I mean, he took it, he won it, and well done to him.”
It wasn’t easy. Shouldn’t be against Djokovic, who kept digging holes for himself and climbing out.
Thiem wasted two match points with quick unforced errors when serving for the victory at 5-3 in the fifth, but he made his third chance count, smacking a forehand winner to break Djokovic in the last game.
“An epic match. I mean, so many ups and downs….