Stage is set for epic semi-final showdowns

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki serves against Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris France. Tuesday

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki serves against Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris France. Tuesday

It was just today it was just unusual how it came about, because it was after the very first game of the match.

Svitolina won the first set 6-3 and raced into a 5-1 lead in the second before Halep bounced back and took the second 7-6 (6). The third was a bit lucky for me, it helped that I was able to break him in his first service games in the last two sets.

When Murray beat Wawrinka this time past year to reach his first French Open final, it was probably his best performance on a clay court. The defeat means that Djokovic will slip to No.3 in the rankings next week.

Djokovic hit rock bottom during the Australian Open and has been floundering there for five months.

His game isn't almost as bad as the results suggest but his mind is everywhere but the tennis court.

Murray was still stunned: "But why did you give it to me when I'd just thrown the ball up?"

Losing to Thiem wasn't the problem - the Austrian has been the world's second-best clay-court player this season.

The 32-year-old is the oldest man to reach the last 4 at Roland Garros, since Jimmy Connors in 1985.

Japanese superstar Nishikori had outlasted Murray in a five-set classic at last year's US Open and looked set to get the better of the Scotsman after breezing through the opening set. Grand Slams excite him. Nadal said. "I only care that I am in the semifinals". That 2014 French Open title was his last (until Sunday, perhaps). Beating him would be a huge effort, given where Murray has come from, but the Scot is enjoying winning without playing his best and knows anything is possible. Those days are gone.

The Djokovic-Thiem victor will face Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.

He went from being the reigning champion at all four slams to posting pedestrian 3R/F/2R/QF results in his title defences, defending those 8000 rankings points with just 1695, less than he got for any one of those four majors.

He wasted two set points in the opener.

The Mallorcan was in superb form a year ago before a wrist injury forced him to abandon the tournament after the third round. Thiem took over after that, winning the third set in only 20 minutes. This is tank city. I'm very surprised - especially with the way how it ended. The Romanian wasted four set points but evened the match on her next opportunity in the tiebreaker after saving a match point.

That he departed this time with a surprisingly lopsided 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria left everyone, including Djokovic, pondering the answers to hard questions.

"Obviously for a couple of points after that I was sacked up, because I was frustrated at that moment".

McEnroe continued on that train of thought when speaking to the BBC.

John McEnroe, working for Eurosport, accused Djokovic of tanking, and the 12-time grand slam champion said: "I obviously always expect a lot from myself, but it's a fact that I'm not playing close to my best, and I know that".

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