Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Djokovic searching for answers as slide continues

Djokovic searching for answers as slide continues

If Novak Djokovic entered the French Open with plenty of question marks hanging over his form he departs Paris still searching for answers after suffering his first straight-set grand slam defeat since the 2013 Wimbledon final.

That he departed this time with a surprisingly lopsided 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria on Wednesday left everyone, including Djokovic, pondering the answers to hard questions.

A year ago, Djokovic became the first man in almost a half-century to claim a fourth consecutive major championship and completed a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros.

The Serbian virtually gave up in the third set in what was a shocking end to his title defence.

Rafael Nadal advanced to the French Open semifinals for the 10th time when Pablo Carreno Busta retired from their match because of injury.

Nadal won 6-2, 2-0 after Carreno Busta withdrew with abdominal pain, in 51 minutes, reports Efe.

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Djokovic's resounding victory over Thiem in the Rome semifinals last month might have been misleading, since the 23-year-old was coming off an emotional victory over Nadal 24 hours earlier.

He had only won one set in all their five previous meetings and lost easily to Djokovic here in the last four 12 months ago.

Since Djokovic defeated Andy Murray in the Roland Garros final past year, he suffered a third round loss at Wimbledon. You know, I'm trying to get better, trying to be on a high level again. "Obviously, it was a thrill and complete fulfillment, I guess", Djokovic said during an expansive and frank news conference.

His error-strewn display shocked Greg Rusedski too, who was appearing in the Eurosport studio.

In the other half of the draw it was business as usual for Swiss star and 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka as he continued his dominance of Croatian Marin Cilic.

Top-ranked Andy Murray is through to the semifinals after beating eighth-seeded Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-1.

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Murray is very aware of the challenge three-time grand slam victor Wawrinka will provide for him. He has really heavy spin and can play quickly, so he's got an all-round game for clay courts.

This loss was in dominant fashion by a score of 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-0, with the final set bagel being a rare occurrence indeed.

The Romanian, who trailed 5-0 in the first set, was down 5-1 in the second.

Paris: Rafael Nadal warned of the threat presented by Dominic Thiem's "huge potential" ahead of their clash for a place in Sunday's French Open final.

Carreno Busta was making his first quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam.

The remaining two women's quarterfinals see third-seed Simona Halep play fifth-seed Elina Svitolina and second-seed Karolina Pliskova battle the lone French player remaining in singles, Caroline Garcia.

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