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Murray wins, ‘Djoko’ falls

PARIS (AFP) – Defending champion Novak Djokovic crashed out of the French Open on Wednesday, sparking fresh fears over his appetite for the sport he once dominated as Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray made the semi-finals.

World No. 2 Djokovic slumped to a stunning 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to Dominic Thiem for his earliest exit in Paris in seven years.

Nadal, chasing a 10th Roland Garros title, will face 23-year-old Thiem after making the last four without breaking sweat.

He was 6-2, 2-0 up on Pablo Carreno Busta when his Spanish compatriot quit with an abdominal injury.

Friday’s other semifinal will pitch world No. 1 Murray, the runner-up to Djokovic in 2016, against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

Murray made the semifinals for the fifth time with a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1 win over Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori.

Wawrinka became the oldest French Open semifinalist in 32 years when he brushed aside Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic, who had brought in Andre Agassi as coach in an effort to boost his flagging career, hinted he may step back from the sport to regroup even with Wimbledon fast approaching.

Wednesday’s defeat to Thiem was Djokovic’s first straight-sets loss at a major in four years and comes just 12 months after he completed the career Grand Slam in Paris.

He then also held all four majors and became the first man to break the $100 million prize money barrier.

Wednesday saw him suffer a first 6-0 ‘bagel’ at a Slam since the 2005 US Open while the defeat will see him slip out of the world’s top two for the first time in six years.

‘’All the top players go through this. It’s a big challenge but I am up for it,’’ said Djokovic who was also runner-up in Paris in 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Thiem had lost to the Serb in the semi-finals last year and took just one game in a straight-sets loss in Rome in May.

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