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Roland Garros

Djokovic escapes disqualification, faces Thiem in French Open semi

Novak Djokovic's quest for a first French Open title was almost scuppered by disqualification on Thursday, but escpaes punishment to reach his 30th Grand Slam semi-final

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during the Men's Singles quarter final match against Tomas Berdych
Dennis GrombkowskiGetty Images

Novak Djokovic reached his 30th Grand Slam semi-final on Thursday but his quest for a first French Open title was almost scuppered by disqualification.

The world number one, a three-time runner-up and seeking a maiden Roland Garros crown to complete the career Grand Slam, defeated Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, claiming a place in an eighth French Open semi-final and sixth in succession.

But the 29-year-old Serb, who will face Dominic Thiem of Austria on Friday for a spot in the final, admitted he was lucky to escape being kicked out of the tournament in the second game of the third set.

Novak Djokovic shrugs his shoulders
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Novak Djokovic shrugs his shouldersDennis GrombkowskiGetty Images

Attempted raquet smash 

Frustrated at missing a break point, Djokovic went to smash his racquet into the ground but it slipped out of his grasp before it flew into the backwall on Philippe Chatrier Court.

Had it hit the nearby line judge, who was forced to take evasive action, Djokovic would have been disqualified.

Not surprisingly, he offered a speedy apology to chair umpire Eva Asderaki Moore and escaped with a warning for racquet abuse.

Djokovic: "I was lucky" 

"I was lucky there," admitted Djokovic. "I apologised to the people that have been in this particular situation with me and that could have been hurt by my racquet. But, you know, it was never the intention. It was just some unfortunate bounce, but fortunate ending of that scenario. That's all I can say."

If he is to win an elusive French Open title, the top seed, who is also the Wimbledon, US and Australian Open champion, will have to play five days in six although he will start against Thiem as the favourite having won both their previous matches. The 22-year-old Thiem defeated Belgium's David Goffin 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-1 to make the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.