Madrid Open: Dominic Thiem beats Roger Federer to set up Novak Djokovic meeting

Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer

Dominic Thiem saved match points to end Roger Federer’s clay-court return and reach the Madrid Open semi-finals.

Swiss Federer saved match points in his quarter-final on Thursday but squandered two of his own in the second-set tie-break against Thiem.

Austria’s Thiem eventually came through 3-6 7-6 (13-11) 6-4 to set up a meeting with world number one Novak Djokovic.

Second seed Rafael Nadal cruised into the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-2 win over Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka.

Spaniard Nadal, a five-time champion in Madrid, needed just 69 minutes to beat Wawrinka.

He will face ninth seed and rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas next after the Greek beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 7-5 3-6 6-2.

Germany’s Zverev, seeded third in Madrid, will fall to fifth in the rankings on Monday.

Fifth seed Thiem previously beat 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer in the Indian Wells final in March.

Fourth seed Federer, 37, was playing in his first clay-court tournament for three years.

Thiem, a predominantly clay-court player who lost to Rafael Nadal in last year’s French Open final, recovered from a slow start against Federer.

He created five break points on the Federer serve in the second set, but the Swiss held to force an eventual tie-break.

Federer had match point at 8-7 and 10-9 in the tie-break but Thiem saved them both and won four of the final five points to ensure a deciding set.

Thiem broke Federer early and went on to serve out the match at the second attempt.

He will play Djokovic on Saturday after the Serb received a walkover to the semi-finals.

Djokovic had been set to face Marin Cilic but the Croat pulled out after suffering with food poisoning.

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