Thiem, Keys, Stephens reach French Open semi-final

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PARIS, June 5: Dominic Thiem reached his third successive French Open semi-final on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of a hobbled and exhausted Alexander Zverev.
Thiem, the Austrian seventh seed, goes on to face either 2016 champion and 12-time major winner Novak Djokovic or Italy’s world number 72 Marco Cecchinato for a place in Sunday’s final.
German second seed Zverev simply ran out of gas, paying a heavy price for needing three successive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
His Roland Garros marathon also left him physically drained — he needed his left thigh strapped in the second set.
“He is one of the fittest guys on the tour so it was difficult for him today,” said Thiem, the only man to have defeated 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on clay this year.
“I hope we have many more matches at the Grand Slams but when we are 100 percent.
“It’s great to reach the semi-finals for a third year but it’s time to take another step and I will do everything for that.”
The statistics made bleak reading for Zverev — he finished with 42 unforced errors and just 19 winners.
American 13th seed Madison Keys proved too strong for Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva on Tuesday as she reached the French Open semi-finals for the first time.
The 23-year-old, who lost to compatriot and good friend Sloane Stephens in last year’s US Open final, could next face a repeat of that match at Flushing Meadows after a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over world number 98 Putintseva.
The 10th-seeded Stephens takes on Russian Daria Kasatkina in the second women’s quarter-final later on Tuesday.
“I really just had to focus because Yulia was playing so well, I knew I just had to make a few more balls,” said Keys, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
Putintseva made the first significant move with a break in the seventh game, but failed to serve out the set as Keys found her range.
The Kazakh showed great resolve to force a tie-break, though, saving two set points on her own serve.
But the greater power of Keys paid dividends in the breaker, as the American finally took the opener on her fourth set point with her 18th winner.
Putintseva fought hard at the start of the second set, but Keys broke through to take a 4-3 lead with a rasping forehand return before confidently serving her way to the semi-finals.
US Open champion Sloane Stephens brushed aside Russian Daria Kasatkina in the French Open quarter-finals on Tuesday to set up a repeat of last year’s Flushing Meadows final with fellow American and good friend Madison Keys.
The 10th seed produced a clinical performance to down Kasatkina, the conqueror of world number two Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3, 6-1 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I’m excited to play my good friend in the semi-finals, we’ve already played in the US Open final and it’s really good for American tennis,” said Stephens.
The 25-year-old, who was ranked 957 just six weeks before her maiden Grand Slam triumph last year after a series of injury problems, is now into the semi-finals of a major for the third time. (AFP)