French Open: Dominic Thiem breezes past injured Alexander Zverev

Seventh seed Dominic Thiem breezed through to his third consecutive French Open semifinal on Thursday, though the Austrian progressed in a rather bittersweet manner, with his friend and second seed Alexander Zverev struggling heavily with what seemed to be a hamstring injury in the second and third sets out on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The match started brightly, with the early signs living up to the thrilling contest that many were expecting, with Thiem securing the only break to go a set up. However, after the Austrian broke early in the second, it began to seem clear that Zverev was struggling with an injury, perhaps sustained following three five set matches prior to this. Despite calling the trainer and having a short medical time out in between the second and third sets, the German could do little to alleviate his issues, with Thiem prevailing 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in just and hour and 50 minutes.

Thiem in action during his last eight victory today (Getty/Clive Brunskill)
Thiem in action during his last eight victory today (Getty/Clive Brunskill)

Thiem glides through as Zverev struggles

Even before the tournament began, many people were excited about this match, with both Zverev and Thiem predicted to achieve great things in the coming decade. However, despite some competitive contests between the two in the past, today proved to be a one-sided affair.

The opening stages of the match proved to be when the best tennis was pleased, with both Thiem and Zverev impressing in the opening few games. It was Zverev, however, who was having a little more difficult on serve in his maiden major quarterfinal, and Thiem would secure the first break of the encounter, consolidating for a 5-3 lead. The second seed was able to force Thiem to serve it out, though the Austrian faced little trouble as he took the first set after 39 minutes.

After an impressive first set, Thiem kept up the pressure early on, breaking for a 2-1 lead and saving a break point to hold for 3-1. However, Zverev was now regularly clutching his hamstring after several rallies and had some heavy strapping applied after being broken for the second time in the set. Despite all this, Thiem remained rock solid on the other side of the net, and though Zverev was able to hold for 5-2, Thiem comfortably served out the second set to take complete control of the match.

Zverev was unfortunately blighted by injury in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal (Getty/Clive Brunskill)
Zverev was unfortunately blighted by injury in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal (Getty/Clive Brunskill)

Following the conclusion of the second set, it seemed unlikely that a hampered Zverev would be able to get back into this encounter, and that proved to be the case as Thiem eased out to a 4-0 lead fairly quickly against his struggling opponent. After Zverev avoided the bagel, Thiem was forced to save a break point as he held for 5-1, though avoided having to serve out, with the Austrian converting a third match point on the German’s serve to reach the last four once again.

Though it is perhaps hard to tell exactly how Thiem played against an injured opponent, the Austrian did look very solid and now has three days off before his third consecutive last four encounter here. Marco Cecchinato or 20th seed Novak Djokovic await him there.