PARIS, JUNE 06,
Dominic Thiem reached his third successive French Open semifinal on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of a hobbled and exhausted Alexander Zverev who admitted he was close to quitting the tie.
German second seed Zverev simply ran out of gas, paying a heavy price for needing three successive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
His Roland Garros marathon also left him physically drained — he needed his left thigh strapped in the second set.
“He is one of the fittest guys on the tour so it was difficult for him today,” said the seventh-seeded Thiem, the only man to have defeated 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on clay this year. “I hope we have many more matches at the Grand Slams but when we are 100%.
The statistics made bleak reading for Zverev — he finished with 42 unforced errors and just 19 winners.
Zverev, who said he will undergo an MRI to discover the seriousness of his injury, admitted he was also close to quitting at 5-1 down in the second set.
“I definitely thought about it, but I didn’t want to pull out for the first time of my career in a Grand Slam quarterfinal,” said Zverev.
“I knew I’m not going to win the match. There was no way for me. I could barely move. I couldn’t serve. I couldn’t really do anything. But I still wanted to finish the match and give the credit to Dominic. He deserves to be in the semifinals.”
In a tight first set of a match played in overcast, heavy conditions, Thiem converted the only break point off a backhand winner in the seventh game before securing the opener with an ace.
A double break took the 24-year-old Austrian to 4-1 in the second set before Zverev needed a medical timeout for a leg injury.
With his left thigh heavily strapped, the 21-year-old German was soon two sets down and looking at having to become the first player to win four consecutive five-setters if he was to make the semifinals.