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Ticketing policy has totally backfired, says Croft as Djokovic-Thiem resumes

Ticketing policy has totally backfired, says Croft as Djokovic-Thiem resumes

08/06/2019 at 20:37Updated 08/06/2019 at 21:09

French Open organisers have left a 'sour taste' by preventing ticket holders from seeing the conclusion of Novak Djokovic's semi-final clash with Dominic Thiem, according to Eurosport tennis expert Annabel Croft.

Djokovic's hopes of winning a fourth straight Grand Slam title were in jeopardy on Friday when rain interrupted his semi-final against the Austrian Thiem.

The 32-year-old Serb returned to court at midday on Saturday trailing 6-2 3-6 3-1 and with plenty of work to do if he is to get a crack at Rafael Nadal in the final.

Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo blasted tournament organisers for their decision to suspend play with daylight still remaining on Friday, claiming "we have hit rock bottom".

Dominic Thiem tries to deal with the windy conditions

Dominic Thiem tries to deal with the windy conditionsGetty Images

Croft sympathised with those who had purchased tickets to watch the second of the two men's semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Tickets for the women’s final between Ashleigh Barty and Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova will include the conclusion of the Djokovic match against Thiem, and Croft told Eurosport: “It feels as though everything they did in terms of trying to sell those sessions separately has actually totally backfired in many ways.

" On top of the argument about the women not being on centre court, the whole thing hasn’t come across very well at all. It’s left mixed feelings and a bit of a sour taste."

“I’m wondering about the ticket holders who paid their money to see that match. I understand they’ve been fully refunded, but now they obviously don’t get to see the semi-final that they paid to see which, some days in the past they’ve offered tickets back for the next day.

“A lot of ticket holders would have liked to have come back and seen the resumption of the match today, but they don’t get a chance to see it at all.”

Djokovic is bidding to become the first man in the professional era to twice hold the four big prizes in tennis simultaneously, having also done so in 2016.

In gusty winds Thiem's powerful groundstrokes helped him dominate the first set and Djokovic was in trouble early in the second when he fended off a break point.

He got the crucial break in the eighth game of the second set, however, when a Thiem forehand kissed the net cord and flew long and Djokovic levelled the match.

With dark clouds closing in Thiem broke serve with a huge forehand early in the third, shortly before the rain started again.

Play was eventually cancelled for the day about 50 minutes later despite no rain falling - leading to criticism from several quarters.

Tournament director Guy Forget denied suggestions that Djokovic had left the grounds before play was postponed.

Pat Cash added: “It is what happens with the weather. As soon as we get a roof on this thing, a lot of these problems will go away. It’s obvious that they need at least two roofs here to make it fair."