MADRID – Dominic Thiem edged a thrilling clash with Roger Federer 3-6 7-6(11) 6-4 to end the Swiss veteran’s clay season comeback and reach the Madrid Open semi-finals on Friday.
The fifth-seeded Austrian, who saved two match points, will face Novak Djokovic on Saturday after the world number one’s opponent Marin Cilic withdrew with food poisoning.
Federer, playing his first clay tournament for three years, raced into a 4-1 lead inside 15 minutes as he broke the 220km/h barrier with some powerful serving.
He showed the same drive that saw him bagel Gael Monfils in the first set on Thursday.
The Frenchman had then battled back to force a thrilling tie-break finale in the third set, and Thiem upped his game significantly too, taking the second set to the wire.