When Novak Djokovic would have looked at his side of the draw, one of the last players he would have envisaged meeting in the semifinals of the French Open would have been Dominic Thiem. With Rafael Nadal withdrawing early from the tournament, that side of the draw opened up considerably, with the young Thiem then playing some wonderful tennis to make it to his first Grand Slam final. Now awaits the toughest test in men's tennis today â€“ a match against Djokovic.
Thiem overcame the challenge of David Goffin in the quarterfinals to setup this big match on Friday, and all the 22-year-old, seeded 13 in the tournament, can do is play his best tennis on the day and hope it is enough to make a match of it against the world number one.
"It's going to be unbelievably tough," Thiem told the Roland Garros website on the challenge of facing the best player in the world. "I think he's a little bit on a different level than all the other players, but still I'm in good shape and the match starts at 0-0.
"I'm going to do it like the whole tournament -- I just go out, I will give my best and focus 100%. Then I will see the outcome."
Djokovic was at his menacing best in the quarterfinals against Tomas Berdych, swatting the Czech aside in straight sets, and while the Serbian will be playing in the fourth consecutive day when he steps on the Suzanne Lenglen Court on Friday, there really looks no stopping the great man. Djokovic, however, knows the talent Thiem possesses, even if the world number one has beaten his opponent twice in the past.
"Dominic is one of the leaders of the new generation," Djokovic said. "I'm sure he's very motivated to show himself and others that he deserves to be at the top and compete for biggest titles.
"He's playing the best tennis of his life, no doubt about it. The results are showing that. He's been playing a lot this year, practically every week since February, March. He's been keeping fit, as well, which is quite amazing for somebody who hasn't had that kind of scheduling before in his career."
Where to Watch Live
The French Open semifinal between Djokovic and Thiem is scheduled for a 3 p.m. local time (6.30 p.m. IST, 2 p.m. BST, 9 a.m. ET) start. Below are all the live streaming and TV options.
India: TV: Neo Sports and Neo Prime.
Australia: TV: Fox Sports. Live Streaming: Foxtel Play.
UK: TV: ITV. Live Streaming: ITV Player.
Middle East and North Africa: TV: BeIN Sports. Live Streaming: BeIN Sports Connect.
Asia: TV: Fox Sports. Live Streaming: Fox Sports Play.
Europe: TV: Eurosport. Live Streaming: Eurosport Player.