Novak Djokovic has crashed out of the 2017 French Open on Wednesday as impressive Austrian Dominic Thiem downed the defending champion 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-0 in a bruising last-eight encounter.
Thiem put the world No. 2 firmly through his paces, as the challenger more than matched Djokovic in a lengthy opening set before winning the key moments of the tiebreak.
Thiem, 23, then held on confidently to an early break in the second set before Djokovic surprisingly capitulated as he gave up his title meekly in the third.
Thiem will now face nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in the last four after the Spaniard’s quarter-final opponent, Pablo Carreno Busta, retired hurt in the second set of their Wednesday encounter.
In 2016, Djokovic won the French Open title to become the first man since 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.
Since then, the 30-year-old has lost in the third round at Wimbledon, suffered defeat in the US Open final, and lost in round two at the Australian Open. He has now failed to progress past the last eight in Paris for the first time since 2010.
“The last couple of tournaments I have had some great tournaments and it was unfortunate to finish Roland Garros in this way,” said Djokovic.
“This is a whole new situation for me, not winning a big tournament for eight or nine months – this hasn’t happened for a while.
“All the top players have gone through that and I guess I have to learn lessons and figure how get through. It is a big challenge and I’m up for it.”