Djokovic Tames Thiem, Will Meet Zverev In Rome Final
by Staff | May 20th, 2017, 8:36 pm
  • 63 Comments

Dominic Thiem was masterful in his win yesterday over Rafael Nadal. But today in the Rome semifinals the Austrian had absolutely nothing to offer Novak Djokovic as the Serb rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 victory.

Djokovic began the day finishing off Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 6-4 after the match had been stopped due to rain before the fourth game of the second set last night.

Then, Djokovic watched 20-year-old Alexander Zverev beat John Isner 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1 to reach his first Masters final and become the youngest to advance to a title match at this level since a 19-year-old Djokovic did it at 2007 Miami.

“I’m into my first final of a Masters, which is great, and especially on clay,” Zverev said. “It’s a very physical game and it’s very tough points all the time, long points.

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing, but I still want to keep improving and I still want to develop my game and get better.”

Zverev will break into the Top 15 and he’s now won 12 of his last 13 matches, losing only to Pablo Cuevas last week in the Madrid quarterfinals.

Isner had enjoyed a terrific week beating the likes of former Grand Slam champions Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic, but fell to 0-3 against the German.

“I thought he played pretty well from the back of the court,” Isner said. “But that’s what he does. His backhand is world-class. He won’t miss that shot very much, really, ever. So credit to him.”

Djokovic returned to the court in the evening and had his way with Thiem who couldn’t muster any of the success he had against Nadal. Though Djokovic’s game had a lot to do with that.

“This is undoubtedly my best performance of this year and maybe even longer,” Djokovic said. “I’m overjoyed and happy with every minute that I spent on the court today. It was a perfect match. Everything that I intended to do, I have done it and even more.

“There’s not much to say except that I am so grateful to experience something like this, because I have been waiting and working for it for a long time.”

Thiem couldn’t get his footing in the rallies and Novak forced a tired Austrian into 17 errors to just 8 winners. And he won just 2 of 13 points on second serve.

“It’s really tough for me to play against Novak because he doesn’t give me any time. I don’t really like to play against him, because he has a game style which doesn’t fit me at all,” said Thiem. “He was there from the first point and was pushing himself. I was expecting that from him, but couldn’t really do anything against it because I was empty.

“I was not mentally on the level I should be against these opponents,” he added. “It happens from time to time if you play a lot of matches. And if it happens against a guy like Novak, a score like 6-1, 6-0 is the logical outcome.”

Djokovic and Zverev have never played before and the Serb doesn’t want to miss a chance at his first title since Doha.

“He’s a nice guy and someone that I like,” Djokovic said of Zverev. “I have seen him grow up. I know his older brother. It’s amazing to see 10, 12 years ago, when he was only a boy going around with his racquet, and now we are going to play in the final of one of the biggest events in the world.

“It’s a great beginning of his professional career he has had so far and he deserves to be in the final, but I’m going to make sure he doesn’t get his hands on that trophy tomorrow. I’ll at least try.”

Zverev will try to add Djokovic to Roger Federer and Wawrinka as top men he’s beaten.

“Novak, he’s one of the greatest players of all time,” Zverev said. “He is never going to be easy, especially in a final when he already starts to have a rhythm. I think he played a great match against delPo today and yesterday.”


SUNDAY ROME SCHEDULE

CENTRALE start 1:00 pm
WTA – SINGLES FINAL – [6] S. Halep (ROU) vs [8] E. Svitolina (UKR)

Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – SINGLES FINAL – [16] A. Zverev (GER) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)

PIETRANGELI start 11:30 am
WTA – DOUBLES FINAL – [1] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs [2] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)

Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – DOUBLES FINAL – [8] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs [4] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)


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63 Comments for Djokovic Tames Thiem, Will Meet Zverev In Rome Final

Wog Boy Says:

“…and Novak forced a tired Austrian into 17 errors to just 8 winners.”

Staff, tell me you are not serious?!

“Tired” Thiem after what, beating Rafa in two and having more 24 hours to rest, while Nole finished around midnight, had to come back next day lunch time to play competitive match (not practice) and again get mentally ready for another competitive match for dinner time match?!


django Says:

Lol wog boy
Only Thiem was tired


Lylenubbins Says:

The only thing that would be wilder than Joker beating Thiem 1&0 the day after Thiem straight settled an in form Rafa on clay, would be AZ beating Joker


Lylenubbins Says:

So I’m going with AZ in the final


J.S. Says:

I would be thrilled if AZ wins this finals match!!!!!!!
Nothing about me likes how everyone plays to beat RAFA and tanks the next match….I call re-do, so unfair!!! Beating RN is their only goal…BS!!! It’s getting old, shame on Thiem, no excuses, he played terrible!!!!

Bring some RG and Goat of Clay!!


Czarlazar Says:

Thiem “tanking” after beating Nadal? Interesting interpretation, but leaves out the fact Nole played flawlessly and ferociously and simply overwhelmed the young man. Vintage Nole, one of his best performances ever. You may see Zverev “tanking” in tomorrow’s match as well.


chrisford1 Says:

Alexander Z is the youngest (at 20) to make a final at a Masters 1000 event since Djokovic did it at Miami in 2007 at age 19 (and Novak won that Miami Final for his 1st big title.)

So congrats to the German! It’s just a matter of time before you start seeing new names in big event semis and finals. And you no longer see Berdych, Tsonga, Ferrer there…then the fadeout of the Big 4.

Same as it always has been in this sport, almost any sport. Youth will be served, eventually – and veterans and legends eventually must leave..


J.S. Says:

Czarlazar
LOL I think you give Novak to much my credit, but okay!!!


Margot Says:

Wow! Looks as if Nole got his mojo back right in time for RG.
VP and Wog Boy’s cunning kidnap plan has worked a treat!


Danica Says:

J.S.
On the contrary. Nole is given credit because credit is due.
Everyone is giving “their all” when they face the Big 4. The fact that they rarely follow up with a win in the next round is no reason to deny the winner a well deserved praise.


Anto Says:

Finally it seems Nole is almost back. Now as a Rafa Fan I am worried but as a tennis fan I am happy. Nole is too good a player to just dont come back


AndyMira Says:

@Anto 3:21 am…My thought exactly!!…tho,i have to smack Nole’s head!..of all time he chose to make a comeback!!..at FO??…Urgh!!Stress!!…Why he didn’t choose to comeback at Wimby??..hah??Urgh!My sexy chest hurt!!


Van Persie Says:

Djoko vs. Golden Boy finally. Was looking forward for this match since last year. It’s even better now, because there is a trophy in the table :)


Van Persie Says:

^ on the table


James Says:

Fadeout of the big 4? funny. No of slams the so called “nextgen” will win this year? My guess is zero. Big 4? my guess is 4. Raonic and dimitrov were nextgen once. Now they are neither here nor there.


JM01 Says:

Vintage Novak yesterday, missed that Novak so much. Although did feel bad for Thiem towards the end, beating Rafa and Novak b2b is a huge ask for anyone. Now coming to the final, Zverev can be a bad matchup for Nole since they both have a similar style, with Zverev having a superior serve. Going to be difficult for Novak, also depends on which version of Novak turns up for today’s match.


Czarlazar Says:

Nole has been a different man from the beginning of this tourney, starting with a decent effort against Bedene, very good wins over B-A and D-P, and the masterclass against Thiem. Nole is back mentally and is repulsed by his last 10 months of losing, philosophizing and embarrassment. Bad news for a resurgent Nadal in Paris, and every other aspirant for the balance of the year. PS: eating fish is just as good as meat, and Nole will continue to increase his physical strength as 2017 rolls on…


Van Persie Says:

Sascha was smart chosing to receive


Giles Says:

He needs to eat a horse, not just fish IMO. Lol


Giles Says:

Karmaaaan Zverev!


Daniel Says:

Zverev takes first set. Only first game Djoko was off going down 0-40.Afther that neither faced a BP.

Zverev cool composure so far, doesn’t look like he is playing a Masters final and that’s. Hitting deep and accurate. Djoko will need to try something more and take more risks.


Van Persie Says:

Zverev broke. Cannot see him losing today, too good on serve.


Anto Says:

Man what is happening here. Zverev a set and a break up.


Anto Says:

lets see if he can hold here


Anto Says:

Man zverev is serving really well it seems. Man what will happen if he does go on to beat novak


Anto Says:

But i still see Novak coming back and beating zverev. Cos he is going to feel the pressure sooner rather than later.


Van Persie Says:

Zverev is very confident today. Nole has to up his level


Anto Says:

Man this zverev is looking really f**king good.


Daniel Says:

Zverev on fire, attacking every second shot even after some decent returns by Djoko.

Djoko not finding an opening and not making any move on Zverev serves. Only chance is if Zverev feels a bit of pressure serving for the match. Djoko has to do his part and hold at least 2 more times.


Anto Says:

This so far has been like Nadal thiem match, the underdog dominating.


Daniel Says:

Great hold by Djoko saving BP. Pressure moments for Zverev now.Djoko still alive.


Anto Says:

Will that lost break point opportunity cost zverev. We just have to find out.


Anto Says:

Now this is typically the time novak attacks. lets see if Zverev can withstand the pressure


fred stone Says:

Swearovic losing his cool.


Daniel Says:

Never seen Zverev plays this well. He doesn’t give errors and playing freely and a great serve display. I mean, play a Masters final on clay against Djoko and didn’t face a single BP is very unusual


Daniel Says:

C’mon Djoko, at least makes him serve for the match.


Anto Says:

Match point


Anto Says:

OMG. Zverev did it.


Anto Says:

Very similar to Nadal Thiem match. even the scoreline


Daniel Says:

Well, Djoko is in a climbing: QF in MC, Semis in Madrid, Finals in Rome and Title in RG;-)

Congrats Zverev. moving to top 10. First Masters Title and now is pretty clear that Zverev and Thiem are the rea deal, just a matter of time (and Bg 4 folding for good) for them to be Top 2 in rankings.


skeezer Says:

Eating Fish did not work today.
Djoker doesn’t look right. Can’t point to a specific thing, but his movement isn’t as sharp, also his commitment to shots, maybe he has just had enough of tennis and he is ready to move on and go on to something else. But he does not look right in his game.
That said the kid was hungry, focused, and it showed the way he was smacking the ball. Congrats to Da Kid!


Van Persie Says:

Very good match for Zverev. Congrats.

Nole’s in the right path

QF in Monte Carlo, SF in Madrid, Final in Rome. Winner in Paris ? ;) hehe too much


Van Persie Says:

Daniel, lol..was thinking the same :D


Anto Says:

Man can Zverev win the French ? I would be awesome if he did it.


J-Kath Says:

Well, well, well…what to say? Big congrats to the Z-kid and to Nole – he’s coming back….


Giles Says:

Well done Z!!


Giles Says:

Daniel. Carry on consoling yourself! Lol


Margot Says:

Amazing from Zverev, what distnguishes him from many other “next gen” is his fab ROS.
Compensation for Nole fans, I believe Agassi is on board.


FedExpress Says:

So who said that Nole is back?

I guess he isnt.


Brando 3.0 Says:

Wow:

According to Sky Andre Agassi is the new coach of Novak Djokovic, immediately starting for Roland Garros.

Apparently he approached Sampras, Kuerten and Rafter and ended with Agassi.

Announcement due on wednesday.


Van Persie Says:

Margot,

Agassi is the new coach. Nole confirmed


Okiegal Says:

Fade out of the “big” 4? I don’t think so …….not just yet anyway……Consistency is the WORD in the sport of tennis. We will have to wait and see if the young guns can be consistent week in and week out. This is what the big 4 do……


J-Kath Says:

Agree with you Okie. Let’s see if one of them can win a Grand Slam – I hae my doubts.


skeezer Says:

Good news he got Agassi. He should get his old workout buddy Gil to kick Novak’s $ss. Novak looked lost at times, even though his results weren’t bad through the Clay season. Hopefully Agassi will get him on the right railroad tracks. I mean, Nole has the game, no doubt, he needs to get really hungry again( WB: insert meat here )


Jenny Shekersavva Says:

congratulations zverev played a fantastic match against djokovic I was with you all the way I can imagine how proud everyone is for you bravo bravo.


Margot Says:

At this rate Zverev could qualify for the “Next Gen” year end final AND the ATP WTF in London.
Seems pretty consistent to me.


Czarlazar Says:

As with an alcoholic who has decided to quit, you have to expect a relapse or three before the recovery sticks. Nole celebrated too soon after dismantling Thiem and went back to the dark, meek side today. But he looks like a guy who’s ready to return and Roland Garros will provide conclusive proof as to the state of his head and level of desire in his heart. The silver lining of today’s loss is we were spared the horror of a post-win boob tossing, which is indirectly a win for Nole as well.


RZ Says:

Congrats to Zverev. What a week for him. The Next Gen is finally rising.

Even though Djokovic lost today, I consider him back and expect him to do well at the FO.

Also, belated apologies to my fellow Team Thiem members. I clearly should have added a couple more days to my vacation.


RZ Says:

Interesting stat on Twitter (I haven’t verified it).

ATP players to have won more than 3 titles in past 52 weeks:
Murray 9
Zverev 4

(Now if only Murray can get back to playing like a guy who has won 9 titles in the last 52 weeks).


Miles Says:

Well done AZ. Djokovic’s performance yesterday was good, but not as good as some of his fans believe, as Thiem showed no tactical savvy at all – if he’d played any deeper on the court, he’d have been sitting in the front row. Thiem lacks tactical nous – he’s way behind AZ and Krygios imo.

Djokovic is a shadow of the player he was this time last year – I doubt Agassi can change anything significant in time for Roland Garros – unless he can persuade him to give up his vegan diet!


Raj Says:

Wow..so called best returner earned ZERO breakpoints


Daniel Says:

RZ, 8 titles, Rome win already droped out:-)

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