Djokovic and Serena avoid distractions of French Open 'circus'

Thu Jun 2, 2016 2:04pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - The French Open was lambasted as "one big circus" by Tomas Berdych on Thursday as soggy weather once again exasperated players seeking a foothold in the semi-finals of the rain-hit claycourt major.

Novak Djokovic was lucky to escape being defaulted and Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem provided plenty of entertainment as they finally caught up with the bottom half of the men's draw by setting up a cross-generational semi-final.

With Andy Murray and defending champion Stan Wawrinka enjoying a welcome rest day after booking their last-four showdown a day earlier, world number one Djokovic was back on court for a third day running and again had to dodge the showers as he sealed a 6-3 7-5 6-3 win over a fuming Berdych.

Only a few hundred shivering spectators felt able to brave a gloomy Court Suzanne Lenglen -- which can seat more than 10,000 -- to watch 13th seed Thiem's racket skills. The 22-year-old reached the last four of a major for the first time with a 4-6 7-6(7) 6-4 6-1 win over Belgium's David Goffin.

Serena Williams dropped her first set of the tournament and came within two games of defeat before ramming home her title credentials with a 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory over little-known Kazakh Yulia Putintseva.

"I didn't think I was going to win that but somehow I did," the hugely relieved 21-times grand slam champion said after booking a semi-final with Dutch outsider Kiki Bertens, who beat Swiss eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky 7-5 6-2.


Tennis - French Open Womens Singles Quarterfinal match - Roland Garros - Serena Williams of the U.S. vs Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan - Paris, France - 02/06/16. Serena Williams reacts. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier