Nishikori falls to Thiem in Paris

Dominic Thiem

He put up a brave fight, but Kei Nishikori’s Roland Garros challenge came to an end in Paris on Sunday as he went down in four sets to seventh seed Dominic Thiem.

Thiem was in ruthless form during the first two sets, and despite a good response from Nishikori in the third, the Austrian was able to recover and close out a 6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 victory to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with second seed Alexander Zverev.

Still on the comeback trail after a lengthy injury lay-off, Nishikori seemed to lack his usual speed around the court, and his head appeared to drop in the second set as he let Thiem take total control.

The Austrian had comfortably taken the first set after two unanswered breaks but was even more dominant in the second, not even allowing Nishikori to get on the scoreboard.

The match seemed destined for a hasty conclusion, but Thiem seemed to suffer a loss of concentration in the third set, committing error after error to allow Nishikori back in the match.

And the Japanese star took full advantage, lifting his own game and converting a break and set point at 6-5 to take the set and prolong the contest.

Thiem still appeared frustrated with himself at times during the fourth set, but he continued to look dangerous despite his erratic play and was able to clinch a crucial break in the seventh game for a 4-3 lead – much to Nishikori’s frustration, as he slammed his racket into the court.

Serving for the match a couple of games later, Thiem earned two match points, and the victory was his on the second as Nishikori hit a return long to end the two-hour-and-28-minute battle.

“The first two sets were amazing but then he raised his level and it was 50-50. In the end it was very close and I was a bit nervous in the end as it is always hard to serve to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open,” said Thiem afterwards.

“I love these conditions; it was the first time for me on Court Philippe Chatrier not playing against Rafa so I could enjoy the court,” he added with a smile.

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