French Open 2016: Djokovic and Serena into last four as draw catches up

The draw continued to catch up to the original schedule on Thursday, as the quarterfinals were completed

French Open 2016: Djokovic and Serena into last four as draw catches up
Djokovic is closing in on his first French Open title (photo: eurosport.com)

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams booked their places in the semifinals of the French Open on Thursday, as the draw caught up with its original schedule. All four semifinals will be played today.

Djokovic again too strong for Berdych

Djokovic was expected to roll over Tomas Berdych easily, and indeed he did, the Serbian winning in straight sets for his 23rd win in 25 matches with Berdych. Despite being broken twice himself, the world number one was far too strong for his opponent, winning almost half the points on Berdych's serve. Djokovic is into another semifinal, and the Career Grand Slam - and indeed the non-calendar Grand Slam - must again be feeling tantalisingly close to the three-time finalist.

Facing him today for a place in the final will be powerful young Austrian Dominic Thiem, a player who's been steadily rising the rankings over the last few years and will enter the top 10 for the first time on the back of his impressive performances in Paris. Thiem's quarterfinal win was over the often underestimated David Goffin in four sets. In what had looked to be a tight match, Goffin took the first set before Thiem gradually asserted his superiority, winning 4-6 7-6 6-4 6-1. Thiem's greater power and aggression paid off, hitting 49 winners to Goffin's 31.

Thiem has been impressive in Paris, and is into his first major semifinal (photo: straitstimes.com)

Serena made to work for semifinal spot

Serena's serene process through the draw was interrupted yesterday with what was a hard-fought win over unlikely quarterfinalist Yulia Putintseva. At one stage Serena was just a few points defeat, but as she does so often, she recovered to take the second set before runnign away with the third. After coming so close to the Grand Slam in 2015, Serena will be desparate to add her first major title since Wimbledon.

Serena's rather unexpected opponent in the last four will be the Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who defeated Timea Bascinszky in straight sets. Bertens had only once before gone beyond the second round at this level, and never beyond the quarterfinals, but broke Bascinszky seven times on the way to a straightforward victory. She will enter the top 30 for the first time on Monday.

All results

[1] Novak Djokovic d. [7] Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
[13] Dominic Thiem d. [12] David Goffin, 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-1

[1] Serena Williams d. Yulia Putintseva, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
Kiki Bertens d. [8] Timea Bacsinszky, 7-5, 6-2