Djokovic wary of Thiem threat despite dominance of past meetings


Novak Djokovic does not expect his perfect record in matches against Dominic Thiem to count for too much when the duo meet in the quarter-finals of the French Open.

Djokovic and Thiem each recorded straight-sets victories at Roland Garros on Sunday, against Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Horacio Zeballos respectively, to set up a mouthwatering last-eight tie.

While Djokovic is the reigning men's singles champion in Paris, many will feel sixth seed Thiem has a strong chance given his excellent form on clay this year.

The Austrian has never beaten Djokovic in five previous meetings, though, so will need to break new ground in order to reach the semi-finals in Paris for a second successive season.

Djokovic, who ended Thiem's run 12 months ago, recorded a thumping 6-1 6-0 victory when the pair met in Rome last month, after the 23-year-old had beaten Rafael Nadal in the previous round.

"Obviously never losing to a player always helps mentally a little bit, but I don't think it's gonna play too big of a role, actually," said the world number two in a news conference after his 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 6-3 win over Ramos-Vinolas.

"I think he really will step it up and try to do something special, try to play his best and really take on the challenge. I'm sure he's going to be as motivated as ever, so I expect him to come out and really play his best. I'm going to be ready for that.

"I have obviously played him last year [in the] semis here, played a really good match, played an incredible match against him in Rome. But it's different conditions, it's best of five, it's a grand slam, obviously.

"But still, knowing that I have beaten him a couple of times on clay [and] here last year gives me that confidence, and hopefully I'll be able to do the same."

Djokovic struggled in the first set against Ramos-Vinolas but raised his level thereafter to win with a degree of comfort.

"The second and third [sets] went really well," added Djokovic.

"I thought especially in the second I did things very well from back of the court. I mixed it up and didn't give him any comfort zone on the court. I always made him guess, which was one of the keys."