Dominic Thiem defeated Novak Djokovic 7/6 6/3 6/0 to reach the Roland Garros semifinals for the second year in a row. The Austrian player, at the end of the match, said in press conference: 'I think there have been some key points in the match. The first set was very, very long and very close. Then in the second set, in the beginning, I was down Love-30. I still made the game and broke him in the first service game and again broke him in his first service game in the third set. That's everything very tough. It's understandable that there is a little bit of tough things mentally coming up to him. And that's why at the end it was probably a little bit easier.'
You hadn't ever beaten him before on five matches played. In Rome, you won one game. How did you turn this around? Did you consciously go in with a different game plan? 'No, I didn't play a different game style. I just had a positive win-error statistic today that's very important. I think it was never the case against him before. Yeah, the first set, I could easily lose, and I think it was the key for the first victory against him to win this close first set, and then have a good start to the second set, as well. Because, for example, in London at the Masters, I couldn't continue the way of the first set.'
About the upcoming semifinals match against Rafael Nadal, Thiem said: 'First of all it's great for me to be in the semifinals again, to defend that. And of course, I think on Friday is coming the toughest opponent ever here in Roland Garros. Gonna be the fourth match against him in, like, five or six weeks. Not really big secrets. Well, he's again in his best shape. So gonna be the toughest match what you can imagine.'
Last year you had reached this stage at a slam for the first time. Today, how differently do you feel as a player heading into this Rafa match? 'I think last year everything was sensation for me. I could only win, basically. And this year, of course, I had to defend the same as everything. So I think it was a little bit more difficult this year. Also, last year, of course I wasn't satisfied with the semis, but still it was amazing for me. This year, of course I didn't expect it, but I wanted to go deep. So it's for sure a very different mindset.'
About Nadal's big forehand, Thiem said: 'You cannot defend it all the time. I just have to watch that I'm not giving him his favorite positions on the forehand. It's one of the best shots I think ever in tennis. So anyway, you cannot avoid it all the time. I will concede some winners on Friday (smiling).'
Do you feel ready to win a Grand Slam? 'It's a tough question. So far I have always played way worse match the following day if I beat a top guy. So I hope I can improve that. I mean, it's a joke how tough it is to win a slam. Because obviously now I beat Novak. On Friday is Nadal. In the finals there is another top star. That's why it's a slam is because it's such a tough achievement.'