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Thiem looks ahead to "ultimate challenge" against Nadal in final

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on June 8, 2019 - Duration: 02:06s

Thiem looks ahead to "ultimate challenge" against Nadal in final

Dominic Thiem wins weather-hampered epic against Novak Djokovic who said the first day of play was in 'hurricane-like' conditions.

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Thiem looks ahead to "ultimate challenge" against Nadal in final

SHOWS: PARIS, FRANCE (JUNE 8, 2019) (FFT - NO RESALES) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DOMINIC THIEM, SAYING: "It was an epic match, I mean so many ups and downs, rain, going back to the locker (room), on court again, somehow I had the feeling I always had the lead in the whole match and at the end it got so tough, and at the end both of us could win and I luckily got the better in the end." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DOMINIC THIEM, SAYING: "I mean to play Rafa here on this court is always the ultimate challenge, one of the toughest challenges that sport in general gives.

I played a really good match against him in Barcelona six weeks ago, so of course I'll try to do (something) similar even though it's way tougher to play him here.

But I try to keep all the positive emotions I'm having right now, I'm having from this match today and go with a really positive mind into the match tomorrow and then we'll see." 4.

WHITE FLASH 5.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE 6.

WHITE FLASH 7.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NOVAK DJOKOVIC, SAYING: "Well obviously when you're playing in hurricane-like conditions, it's hard to perform your best you know, it's really just kind of surviving in these kind of conditions and trying to hold your serve and play one ball more than your opponent on the court, that's what it felt like playing yesterday to be honest.

It is what it is, I played great tennis throughout most of the clay court season and here I didn't drop a set until the semis and as I said, you know look playing against Dominic you cannot expect... you know, you're always hoping you can win in straight sets but it's highly likely that it's going to be close matches - it was.

As I said, I don't want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss, I mean he took it, he won it, and well done to him." STORY: Austrian Dominic Thiem crushed Novak Djokovic's French Open hopes as he survived a weather-ravaged semi-final spanning 24 hours to complete a 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory on Saturday (June 8) and set up a repeat of last year's showdown with Rafael Nadal.

Thiem said he hoped to emulate his success against Nadal from his triumph against him in Barcelona earlier this year, calling the final where his opponent will be far better rested the "ultimate challenge".

More than an hour after the women's final should have started on another stormy day on Court Philippe Chatrier, fourth seed Thiem thumped a forehand winner past Djokovic to seal victory after squandering two earlier match points.

Thiem said he had no complaints that the match had been stopped on Friday with the wind strength increasing and a forecast for more rain to come.

The Austrian looked poised to win when serving at 5-3 and 40-15 in the final set before a howling rain squall sent the players off court for more than an hour.

Djokovic took advantage of the break and hit back to tie the final set at 5-5.

Djokovic, on edge for parts of the match before regaining his compsure, eventually buckled and lost his service game to hand Thiem the fifth set 7-5.

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