Djokovic defeats Zverev for semi-final spot in French Open

Novak Djokovic will play Dominic Thiem in the French Open semi-finals. (AFP pic)

PARIS: Despite sending mighty serves crashing down from a great height, towering world number five Alexander Zverev could offer only momentary resistance to Novak Djokovic in Paris, as the top seed barged into the semi-finals of the French Open in straight sets.

The German had served for the opening set at 5-4 before Djokovic simply clicked it up a notch to steal that set 7-5 then romp through the next two 6-2 6-2.

“He was serving very well, it was a big challenge for me to find the right returning position,” Djokovic said on court afterwards.

“I was 4-5 down, then I played five or six games perfectly, hitting clean balls. It was very windy but it felt good to play (after Wednesday’s washout).”

So, business as usual for the man who hasn’t lost a Grand Slam match since a last-eight loss here last year.

That disappointing defeat on a cold, darkening evening by Marco Cecchinato proved only a prelude to winning Wimbledon, the US Open and January’s Australian Open.

Thursday’s victory over Zverev was a 26th consecutive one in Grand Slam action, and it will take a mammoth effort to end that run.

The man tasked next with stopping him is Austrian Dominic Thiem who, at world number four, is ranked one place higher than Thursday’s victim.

Thiem was himself ruthless, dispatching Russian Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-4 6-2. Familiar faces occupy the bottom half of the draw with Roger Federer due to face Rafa Nadal in the first semi-final.