Austrian Dominic Thiem destroyed a lacklustre and battle-weary Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the French Open semi-finals for the third consecutive year.
Claycourt specialist Thiem’s relentless accuracy from the baseline proved too much for second seed Zverev who looked jaded after a gruelling path to his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
After an even start full of high quality ball-striking, Thiem broke serve at 3-3 and quickly got on top, stretching his opponent all over Court Philippe Chatrier.
Second seed Zverev, 21, needed his left thigh strapped in the second set and looked disconsolate as Thiem widened his advantage with a clinical display of hitting.
Thiem, seeded seventh, needed only 15 minutes to go 4-0 up in the third with Zverev barely running for wide balls.
Zverev began to let rip, snatching one game back, but the outcome was inevitable and Thiem put him out of his misery with a routine backhand winner into a wide-open court.
“It was very tough for him today,” Thiem, who fell to eventual winners Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the last two years, said on court. “He is one of the fittest guys on Tour but to play three five-setters in a row is tough in Grand Slam.
“I love it here and I will do everything to make one more step this year.”
Thiem, 24, will play either Djokovic or Italian Marco Cecchinato hoping to become the first Austrian to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster in 1995.
Zverev had needed five sets to beat Dusan Lajovic, Damir Dzumhur and Karen Khachanov and his first-week graft caught up with him on a damp and cool Tuesday.
Thiem lost to Zverev in the Madrid final but is the only player to beat Nadal on clay this year and he oozed confidence from the outset against the tall German.
Striking the ball harder and with more spin and holding serve with ease he always looked the more likely player to make the first move and his chance came in the seventh game.
Thiem crushes weary Zverev to make last four