Thiem Overcomes Gaston Drop Shot Blitz, Sinner Ousts Sick Zverev; Djokovic-Khachanov At French Open

by Staff | October 4th, 2020, 8:44 pm

Dominic Thiem became the first Top 3 seed to get tested Sunday at the French Open. The 2-time finalist hadn’t dropped a set en route what should have been an straightforward fourth round over French wildcard Hugo Gaston.

The but the 20-year-old Gaston, ranked No. 239, was playing the part nearly perfectly going down two sets. But then Thiem got aggravated with Gaston’s tactic of drop-shotting nearly every other point.

With the lack of rallies and Thiem unable to put away volleys and re-drops, Gaston snuck out the third and fourth sets, and was poised, ready and fit to pull off a second straight upset over a Slam winner – he beat Stan Wawrinka on Friday.

Thiem started tracking the drop shots better in the fifth and was able to force Gaston into errors. The Austrian finally got the break at 4-all and then was served it out for a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3 to reach his fifth straight French Open quarterfinal.

“I think it was an amazing match by both of us,” Thiem said told the crowd after the 3h32m win. “Haven’t seen for a very long time a player with such a big touch in his hands. His drop shots are just from another planet, I was sprinting like 400 times to the net. All the credit to him. If he continues like this, he’s going to be a huge, huge player and make a lot of joy in this stadium in the future.”

Thiem has won 5 of his last 6 5-set matches including that US Open final win.

“I couldn’t find the right answer,” Thiem said of Gaston’s drop shot strategy. “In the fifth set I found some new energy. I think I was playing very good again, but it was a great fight until the end and I’m very lucky I made it through today.”

Gaston, who was making his French Open debut, hit 50+ drop shots during the match.

“I love to do some drop shots. But I can do all the shots in my game, so it’s important to change, never the same ball,” Gaston said. “Of course I love to play a drop shot.”
op shot.”

After facing the 5-foot-8 Gaston, Thiem will face an even shorter player on Tuesday in Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine breezed past Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

“Against Diego there will be some long rallies,” Thiem said. “He likes these conditions. It’s a little slower and not so high bounce. It will be very difficult.”

Rafael Nadal cruised into his 14th French Open quarterfinal besting American qualifier Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.

“I’m in quarterfinals without losing a set and having very positive scores,” Nadal said. “I can’t complain at all, so happy for that.

“I really believe that we are a looking at a great player,” Nadal said of Korda. “He is young. Of course, he had some mistakes in some important moments, but the way that he hit the ball was really impressive.”

After the match, the 20-year-old Korda asked his idol Nadal for an autographed shirt.

“It was definitely the best moment of my life. It was super awesome,” Korda said. “After the match I asked him for a signed shirt when we were tapping rackets. I don’t know if anyone’s ever asked him for an autograph after a match, but that was definitely the coolest moment of my life and one I’ll never forget.”

Nadal will take a 97-2 mark into Tuesday against Jannik Sinner. The 19-year-old Italian collected his biggest Grand Slam match win ousting Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

“It’s not the easiest thing, for sure,” said Sinner of facing Nadal. “I think the record he has here, I think nobody can beat that. He is super confident here,” said Sinner.

“It’s going to be a difficult match for sure. It’s always to go on court with the right attitude, trying to play best tennis, which I have to do if I want to play the same level as he plays.”

Zverev lamented after the loss that he had been running a fever.

“I’m completely sick. I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had a fever as well,” said Zverev who admitted to having a fever over 100F.

“To be honest, I warmed up today. I shouldn’t have played,” he added. “I was hoping maybe for a three-set win or something like that, but I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be easy.”

With talk swirling about why the German was allowed to play, the tournament released a statement.

“Zverev is up to date on his tests, which have all been negative. His last test was on September 29, with results received on September 30. Today he received a reminder for his next test, to be carried out within 5 days of the previous results.”

On Monday, Novak Djokovic returns to take on his first real opponent in Karen Khachanov. Djokovic is 3-1 against Russian but 0-1 in Paris having lost to Khachanov at the 2018 indoors.

Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also in action. Tsitsipas will take on Grigor Dimitrov.

** Court Philippe CHATRIER ** Début à 11h00
1 SD H Petra KVITOVA (CZE) [7] contre Shuai ZHANG (CHN)
suivi de
2 SM H Grigor DIMITROV (BUL)[18] contre Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE) [5]
3 SM H Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [1] contre Karen KHACHANOV (RUS) [15]
4 SD H Fiona FERRO (FRA) contre Sofia KENIN (USA)[4]

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Djokovic, Tsitsipas Cruise Into French QFs; Nadal v Sinner Tues.
Djokovic, Tsitsipas Easy French Open Winners, Altmaier Impresses; Zverev v Sinner Sunday
Thiem Sends French Warning Shot with Nice Title
Nadal, Thiem Win Blowouts At French Open, Wawrinka Stunned

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17 Comments for Thiem Overcomes Gaston Drop Shot Blitz, Sinner Ousts Sick Zverev; Djokovic-Khachanov At French Open

Daniel Says:

Curious to see if Djoko willbe a little stressed tomorrow, last time he faced PCB disaster happened.

Thiem and Nadal on collision course yet again in RG. Only Schwatz can maybe take Thiem out.

Also, over the last 4 years Thiem got a clay win over Nadal ever single year, could he do it in RG this year (not in finals)?! He will be on a 12 match winning streak and as Grand Slam winner.

jatin Says:

An amazing match last night between thiem and gaston.
Honestly speaking, I have never seen someone playing drop shots with this efficiency time and time again. I think gaston played more than 50 drop shots and hardly missed any of them. It was simply unbelievable to see.
Clearly, It caught thiem totally off guard with how well gaston was executing them. And when he was even managing to play some of them, Gaston was coming up with slick lobs. It seemed like he had no idea what to do with it anymore.

Cudos to thiem to finally able to come through that huge test in the end.

Gaston is a great talent.

I am super excited for Dimitrov vs tsitsipas match. Its a battle of two great backhands and aggressive styles. Should be great match.

j-kath Says:

Agree with Jatin – The match I have enjoyed the most (so far) was Thiem vs. Gaston – to begin with it looked like it was going to be a virtual stroll in the park for Thiem – but steadily grew into “a-must-watch” gripping encounter….. – the youthful Gaston is one to follow for the future.

chrisford1 Says:

Thiem was not loving that drop shot Blitz while it happened, but after the match had huge praise for young Gaston and his brilliance. The only thing is…..Gaston is 5’7″, or a generous 5’8″ in US non-metric measurement, and that is a real impediment when most players he encounters will be taller and have better serving ability. (See Olivier Rochus, David Ferrer 5’9″-5’10” depending on source, Diego Schwartzman)

Very interested in if Covid took poor Sasha down.
If Covid is afoot at the French Open, that would suck. I’m not concerned that any of these top athletes ranging from late teens to mid 30s is in any real danger, but it could alter the dynamics all on it’s own if some of the remaining players become impaired by it. Only two of them are unlikely to get it.
The Aida Tour may become great prep for the French Open!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Zverev is an idiot, and should face significant fines.

Dave Says:

I walked by David Ferrer at a tournament. Not a chance he’s 5’9. 5’8 tops. But I would guess 5’7.

Dave Says:


I was thinking the exact same thing as you. If he gets through the 4th round today, it won’t be an issue going forward. I was actually a bit worried about this match,. As mentally strong as Djokovic is, he’s still human.

King Billy Says:

“Zverev is an idiot, and should face significant fines.”

There are still common colds out there, don’t be a virus nazi

Dave Says:

Looks like no special treatment for Nadal this year. I has been scheduled the worst possible time on center court. The 5th and final match of the day. Not conditions he will enjoy, especially against a player like Sinner. Now we will find out how well Nadal is actually playing. Nadal in 4 sets.

chofer Says:

Loved the creativity of Gaston!!

As far as drop shots’ wizard, I DID see someone like him: Guillermo Coria.

Janiik Sinner is a carbon copy of Thomas Berdych. Let’s see if the ginger Italian has a better head in the long term.

Wog Boy Says:

Lucky that Karen from Kentucky wasn’t the linesperson hit in temple by Nole ball last night.
We would have Marine One landing on the court and carrying Karen on the stretcher to “safety “.

For those who haven’t seen it, the linesman was hit hit by surprise right in the temple with more force than Karen was hit in the jaw, but just shrugged it off and waved Nole not to worry.

Wog Boy Says:

“… don’t be a virus nazi…”

Best comment.

Van Persie Says:

Am curious if we will have a Nole vs. Rafa final, or will be there surprises? :)

I enjoyed many tennis matches without posting, and Nolle looks really good and determined

Giles Says:

“……has been scheduled the worst possible time on center court”. Why is that? I think Rafa has TWO days off after this match .

Dave Says:


The match might not start until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Rafa has never played a match that late at Roland Garros in these conditions. Sinner hits the balk very hard and flat. In slower conditions, at night, these conditions don’t favor Rafas style of play.

Andy Mira Says:

Hey Dave…I respect very much what you’re saying bout Rafa & cold condition,heavy balls etc …but i found this article today…

Rafa also adapting very well to the condition by flattening his shots to get more penetration in slow & damp court in his previous 4 rds…As a fan,i am really happy with this changes & hope he will keep producing his best tennis whenever needed…

Vamos Rafa!!

Dave Says:

I saw that article. But the problem is that he has had very easy competition so far. It’s a much different situation when you get tested by the best. It was kind of like in Australia where people couldn’t stop talking about Nadal hitting his serve harder and better. Then in the final it was non existent against Djokovic. I’m not saying Nadal isn’t adapting well. But those numbers aren’t telling the full story. We won’t truly know until Nadal actually gets tested if these changes will truly work.

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