Dominic Thiem must take the ball early and on the rise against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

Dominic Thiem overcame Novak Djokovic’s stubborn resistance and defensive skills to prevail 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in a tightly contested five-setter and earned the right to meet Rafael Nadal, in the finals, for the second consecutive time at the French Open championship.


Dominic Thiem versus Novak Djokovic.

The Thiem versus Djokovic was an exciting encounter with many changes in momentum. It was peppered by excellent shot-making and, as well as, sloppy unforced from both ends.

Novak was, particularly, sloppy in the first and his lack of volleying and court-positioning at the net were exposed in the 6-2 route. Novak lost 7 of his 8 visits to the net and won only 10 of 35 total points in the first.

Djokovic was a little more careful at the net and won 7 of 10 in the second. Novak also raised his level and won 31 of 50 total points in the second.

It was Thiem’s turn to raise his level in the third and Novak’s to be done-in by his own ineptitude at the net, yet again. Novak won only 8 of 20 trips to the net and scored 8 winners as compared to 20 by Thiem in the third.

Dominic Thiem came undone by 18 unforced in the fourth, while Novak continued attacking the net, albeit a little more successfully, in the fourth. Novak won 9 of 16 trips to the net and 38 of 65 total points played in the fourth.

The fifth witnessed quite a few breaks and sloppy play by both. Djokovic continued attacking the net, and won 10 of 17 net points, but converted only 2 of his 4 break opportunities. Thiem, on the other hand, converted 3 of the 7 break point opportunities, he created for himself.


What’s next for Novak Djokovic?

Novak Djokovic scores full marks for his commitment to attack the net. Improving the play and positioning at the net may be his only shot at staying relevant beyond 33. He approached the net 71 times in five sets and won 35 of those points.


Thiem must take the ball early to stand a chance against Rafa.

Dominic Thiem sports a strong forehand but he stands little chance, against the King of Clay, if continues to take the ball late and on its way down. Thiem rarely took the ball on the rise and allowed Djokovic time to get into the point. His heavy baseline-shots provided him enough openings and ample chances to close points early, but his inability to strike the ball early lost him many of those opportunities. Rafa is on fire and it’d be tough for Thiem to win if he continues to strike the ball on its way down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *