French Open: Dominic Thiem puts on an impressive display to send Kei Nishikori packing

Dominic Thiem came through Kei Nishikori in four sets to advance to the second week at Roland Garros where he made the semifinals last year.

French Open: Dominic Thiem puts on an impressive display to send Kei Nishikori packing
Dominic Thiem looks on during his match against Kei Nishikori (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem
3 1
Kei Nishikori

Eighth seed Dominic Thiem booked his spot in the Roland Garros quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 win over Japan's Kei Nishikori. He will now play Alexander Zverev who has come through three five-set matches. 

Thiem races away with the opening set

Both made comfortable starts to the match, by holding their serves with no real issues. A number of powerful forehands led to two break points for Thiem at 15-40. Un unlucky net cord from the Japanese gave the Austrian the break, which he backed up to make it 3-1 early on.

Nishikori managed to also hold his second service game of the set but couldn't trouble the eighth seed who seemed to have all the answers in the match thus far as held to make it 4-2. 

Dominic Thiem strikes a forehand (Photo: Tim Clayton/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem strikes a forehand (Photo: Tim Clayton/Getty Images)

An error-filled game by Nishikori allowed the Austrian triple break points for a potential double-break lead. The 28-year-old did well to save two of the break points but the 24-year-old ultimately ended the contest by forcing the error from Nishikori as he took a 5-2 lead. 

The Austrian played a comfortable game, racing away to a love-40 lead and earning three set points. An ace down the line did the job for the 24-year-old who sealed the set 6-2 with just 28 minutes on the clock gone. 

Thiem dominates to take a two-set lead over Nishikori

Nishikori found himself needing to save triple break points immediately in this second set as he hit a shanked forehand during a lengthy rally. An unforced error allowed Thiem to get the break before going on to consolidate to love to make it eighth points and five games won in a row.

The Japanese attempted to find a way back into the match and had two game point bus the Austrian turned it around and pressured Nishikori who was forced to save two break points. But Thiem kept coming back and brought up a third break point chance.

Dominic Thiem gearing up to strike a forehand shot (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem gearing up to strike a backhand shot (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

This time, he managed to break with Nishikori sending a forehand long. Another hold of serve gave Thiem a 4-0 lead. The Japanese struggled to get anywhere near to Thiem who played a wonderful backhand passing shot to bring up further break points.

The Japanese crumbled with yet another unforced error to allow Thiem to serve for the bagel. The world number eight hit a sixth and seventh ace of the contest to seal the set and the bagel. TThis was Thiem's ninth game in a row dating back to the first set. 

Nishikori steal the third set to keep his hopes alive

After a one-sided affair this far, Kei Nishikori was hoping to make the third set competitive at least and managed to win his first game in nine attempts. Thiem like he had done for most of the match, looked pretty comfortable on serve as he held to make it 1-1.

For the first time in the match, Nishikori had settled down well and was going toe-to-toe with the two-time semifinalist, forcing more unforced errors combined than in two previous sets. The Japanese had also found himself hitting more winners as both players looked even.

Kei Nishikori reacts to winning the third set (Photo: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Kei Nishikori reacts to winning the third set (Photo: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

With no breaks in this set thus far, Thiem found himself 5-6 down and serving to send the set to a tiebreaker. The 24-year-old took a love-30 lead but Nishikori came battling back to earn his first break point of the contest after one hour and 43 minutes.

Having returned Thiem's second serve, the high bouncing ball did no favors for the Austrian who smashed a forehand long to get broken, lose the set 5-7 and send the match to what seemed like an unlikely fourth set. 

Thiem grabs the only break point of the set to advance to the fourth round

In a crucial set, Nishikori had the advantage of serving first and held his opening service game to 15. He then a chance at 30-all in the next game but two good serves gave Thiem the game for 1-1. The fourth set seemed to mirror the third, with both players gaining rhythm on their serves.

That was until the seventh game where the Austrian started to make moves on the Japanese's service game. With Thiem up 15-30, he forced Nishikori out wide before hitting a backhand down the line which ended up being an error and a break point opportunity.

Dominic Thiem returns a shot (Photo: Xin Li/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem returns a shot (Photo: Xin Li/Getty Images)

Nishikori managed to force the error to save the first break point but the Austrian capitalized on a poor second serve by adjusting his body and smashing a forehand crosscourt return winner to break. The Japanese man sent the eighth game to deuce but Thiem came through to hold and go 5-3 up.

Nishikori held his serve to love to stay in the match but only momentarily as Thiem brought up a match point. Nishikori saved it as he sent the game to deuce but the 24-year-old grabbed another and this time, sealed the victory.