The focus of the tennis’ world will be for the most part on the other side of the French Open draw where Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are set to face off in the 39th instalment of their classic rivalry (which we’re also offering predictions for). But Novak Djokovic’s clash with Dominic Thiem promises to be a thrilling match up. Both men are excellent clay-courters with superb records at Roland Garros. Offering their predictions for this clash are Jim Smith, Yesh Ginsburg, Ryan Schick and Harsh Bhoot.
Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem
Yesh: This is the ultimate test for Dominic Thiem. The youngster has beaten the best in the world and reached a French Open final before. Can he repeat that task, this time against Novak Djokovic? This should be an incredible match, and it might be impacted by the weather. Expect a gruelling, tough match, and for the youngster to upset the former champion.
Prediction: Thiem in 5
Ryan: This French Open semifinal could truly go either way, but I expect the player who starts early could take over and win convincingly. Thiem is the second best clay courter in the world, while Djokovic is looking to hold all four slams at once. Thiem has the more pure game for clay with his big groundstrokes, but Djokovic is the best defender in the game. It will come down to form, and Djokovic has not dropped a set or even played a tiebreaker this tournament, and will win a tightly fought match.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4
Harsh: This match may prove to be one for the ages. Both head into this match playing their best tennis and the terre battue will only add to the slugfest this promises to be. Thiem arguably holds a slightly mental edge at the French Open after beating Novak two years ago, but the Serbian looks sharper than ever and will be eager to avenge that loss. He did also beat Thiem in the Austrian’s first semifinal in Paris in 2016. Rallies are tough to call so the one who serves better late in the match edges this one out. Thiem has the bigger serve so expect to just get by this Serb.
Prediction: Thiem in 5
Jim: Both Djokovic and Thiem got through their rain-delayed quarterfinals with the minimum of fuss to set up this mouth-watering clash. Both men have looked very impressive so far in Paris and both will surely have real belief that they can go all the way if they can get through this match. When they last met in Madrid, there was little to separate them and that looks likely to be the case again at Roland Garros. But Djokovic has vastly more experience and he only very rarely loses with the prize this near to his grasp. Expect him to just edge out the Austrian.
Prediction: Djokovic in 5
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