Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
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Hailed as the king of the tennis world a year ago after winning his fourth Grand Slam title in a row at Roland Garros, Novak Djokovic was relieved of his last remaining major title at the capable hands of Dominic Thiem.
The second-ranked Serb put up a fight in a competitive first set before the 23-year-old Austrian took control to move into his second straight French Open semi-final, winning 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0.
His reward: a meeting with nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, who advanced to his tenth French Open semi-final when fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta retired trailing 6-2, 2-0.
More than the scoreline, it was the manner in which Djokovic wilted in the third set that will be of most concern to his legion of fans.
Virtually unbeatable a year ago, since he finally completed the career Grand Slam at Roland Garros, Djokovic has often looked like a shadow of his former self. He suffered early exits at Wimbledon and this year's Australian Open, and has won only one title this season.
“I'm feeling like I'm missing consistency,” said Djokovic, a 12-time grand slam winner who used to strike fear into his opponents with his seemingly insatiable appetite for winning.
“I play a great match or two in a row, and then I play a completely opposite match. That's what happened today.”
After missing two set points at 5-4 in the opening set on a cold and windy day in Paris, Djokovic lost the tie-break on a backhand error.
He got broken early on in the second set as the wind swirled around the Court Suzanne Lenglen and, after squandering a chance to break back for 3-4, the match was effectively over, with Thiem clinching the second set before taking the third to love in just 20 minutes.
On match point, the Serb had already started walking to the net to shake hands as a blistering backhand flew past him. It was Thiem’s 38th winner, 20 more than his opponent.
Djokovic was at a loss to explain his defeat and refused to put the blame on his new coach Andre Agassi, who is back home in Las Vegas after spending the first week with the Serb, who will drop below No.2 in the rankings for the first time since 2011.
Djokovic had hired the former top-ranked American after parting ways with his entire coaching staff 23 days before the start of the French Open following eight months of disappointing results.
“Don't put Andre in the midst of this,” said Djokovic, adding that he wasn't ruling out taking a break. “This final set, of course, that's all me,” he added.
“I didn't play a different game style,” said Thiem, who had been 0-5 against Djokovic, including a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing at the Rome Masters the week before Roland Garros.
“I just had a positive win-error statistic today that's very important. I think it was never the case against him before.”
Although Thiem is the only man to have beaten Nadal on the red clay this season, he was quick to point out that playing the Spaniard at Roland Garros would be “the toughest match you can imagine.”
Andy Murray faces Stan Wawrinka in the other men’s semi-final after the world No.1 overcame a scare against Japan’s Kei Nishikori, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(0), 6-1.
Nishikori, who beat Murray in the quarter-finals at the US Open last year, flew ot of the gates, taking the ball early and repeatedly punching holes in Murray's defence.
But after being incensed by a time violation early in the second set, last year's runner-up found his rhythm, and after Nishikori produced a series of errors in the third set tie-break, Murray ran away with proceedings to set up a semi-final meeting with Wawrinka.
The Swiss looked in ominous form against former US Open winner Marin Cilic of Croatia, easing to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win. Wawrinka has not lost a set en route to the last four and will be looking for revenge after losing to Murray at the same stage last year.
“I came in playing garbage,” said Murray, who had entered the French Open with a 4-4 record on the clay in Europe this spring.
“I'm the odd one out in the semis, but hopefully I can keep it up,” added the Briton, who leads Wawrinka 10-7 in their head to head.
Down a set and 5-1 against the most successful player on the women's tour this season, Simona Halep pulled out all the stops against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina to move into her second French Open semi-final, triumphing 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-0.
“Today I showed that I'm stronger mentally,” said the 2014 runner-up, who faces Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final. Although she has beaten the Czech four times in six matches, they’ve yet to meet on clay.
The Romanian had no idea she had faced a match point in the tie-break until she checked her Twitter feed while stretching.
“The backhand down the line at match point, I was, like, was match point for her?,” Halep said. “And I didn't realize during the match.”
Pliskova is not a lover of clay and had only won two matches at Roland Garros in five appearances before this year.
Throughout the tournament, she has talked about how she is struggling on clay but on Wednesday, the world No.3 moved into her second Grand Slam semi-final when she ended the title hopes of France’s last remaining singles player, Caroline Garcia, winning 7-6(3), 6-4.
“Today I can finally say I felt a little bit better on the court compared to the last matches,” said Pliskova, who can take over the No.1 ranking if she beats Halep.