When the time comes, proud champions are supposed to relinquish their crowns after fighting and snarling to the last moment. Novak Djokovic effectively waved the white flag, bowing out of the French Open with a whimper on Wednesday.The 30-year-old Serb, who has prevailed in some of the sport’s epic battles on the way to 12 major titles, was barely recognisable as he capitulated in a 7-6(5) 6-3 6-0 defeat by Austrian Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.After squandering two set points in the opener on a blustery Court Suzanne Lenglen, Djokovic’s renowned fighting spirit ebbed away quickly and he surrendered the third set in 20 minutes.The result was all the more remarkable as in five previous matches with the 23-year-old he had lost one set and last month thrashed him 6-1 6-0 in Rome — a result that suggested Djokovic had found his mojo, missing since he won the French a year ago.Sixth seed Thiem, who to be fair played superbly in the first set but must have thought he was facing a Djokovic impersonator thereafter, is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament but his next task is a daunting one.”It doesn’t get any easier,” Thiem, beaten by Djokovic in last year’s semi-final, said on court when asked to comment on the prospect of facing favourite Rafa Nadal in the semis.While Thiem’s part in Djokovic’s downfall should not be overlooked, it was the Serbian world number two’s astonishing collapse that was the talk of Roland Garros.advertisementDouble French Open champion Jim Courier, commentating on the match, said the Serb had shown ‘no fight’.LISTLESS DJOKOVICThat was certainly true after the first set as Djokovic, whose new coach Andre Agassi had already flown home, appeared lost and listless, misfiring a succession of lame backhands.”Obviously nothing was going my way and everything his way. Just pretty bad set,” said Djokovic, who split with his long-term coaching crew last month and announced shortly before the French he would be working with eight-times major winner Agassi.”It was decided I think in the first set today. I tried. I lost that crucial break in the beginning of the second, and he started serving better, backing it up with the first shot. He deserved to win. He was definitely the better player.”It was Djokovic’s first defeat before the semi-finals in Paris since 2010 when he was also beaten by an Austrian, Juergen Melzer in the quarter-finals.The danger signs were already there in the early stages when Thiem broke the Djokovic serve in the third game. However, Djokovic responded to break back twice in a row, only to drop his own serve at 4-2 with a forehand error.Djokovic piled on the pressure when Thiem served at 4-5 and he had his man in trouble at 15-40. Thiem saved the first set point with a volley, then forced a backhand error on the second.The tiebreak was nip and tuck with a succession of points against the serve but Thiem took it when Djokovic shovelled a tight-looking backhand into the net.Djokovic dropped serve at the start of the second set and the expected backlash never materialised as Thiem marched towards the last four with unexpected ease.Djokovic raised his fist to the crowd after winning a point early in the third but it was a hollow gesture.He did save one match point but was already walking towards the net to shake hands when Thiem sent a backhand fizzing past him a few seconds later.Thiem, who has 22 wins in claycourt matches this year and reached finals in Barcelona and Madrid where he lost to Nadal, is the second Austrian man to reach multiple grand slam semi-finals after former French Open champion Thomas Muster.
Real Madrid Girona vs Real Madrid: TV channel, stream, kick-off time, odds & match preview Oli Platt Last updated 2 years ago 00:48 10/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Real Madrid Girona v Real Madrid Girona Primera División Reports in Spain have suggested the champions’ trip to Catalonia could be called off after the region declared independence from Spain on Friday Real Madrid will visit Girona on Sunday for what is bound to be a highly charged encounter two days after the region of Catalonia declared independence.Speculation has suggested police are assessing the safety risks of allowing the fixture to go ahead after the Catalan government voted to leave Spain on Friday.With the Spanish government set to impose direct rule in an attempt to prevent the split, the arrival of the capital’s biggest club will inevitably be greeted with hostility. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Game Girona vs Real Madrid Date Sunday, October 29 Time 15:15 BST / 10:15 ET TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM In the UK, the match will be available to watch live on television on Sky Sports Football and by stream via Sky Go. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Football Sky Go In the US, the match will be available to watch live on television on beIN Sports and by stream via beIN Sports Connect. US TV channel Online stream beIN Sports beIN Sports Connect SQUADS & TEAM NEWS Position Girona players Goalkeepers Iraizoz, Bono Defenders Espinosa, Mojica, Ramalho, Alcala, Juanpe, Muniesa, Planas, Maffeo Midfielders Granell, Pons, Portu, Amagat, Benitez, Douglas, Timor, Boulaya, A. Garcia, B. Garcia Forwards Stuani, Olunga, Moreno, Kayode Girona picked up a valuable 2-1 win away to Deportivo in their last league match and could name a similar lineup.The Catalans have five players on loan from Manchester City and three of them – Pablo Maffeo, Aleix Garcia and Larry Kayode – are likely starters, with Douglas Luiz and Marlos Moreno also in contention.Potential starting XI: Bono; Ramalho, Espinosa, Juanpe; Maffeo, Pons, A. Garcia, Benitez; Portu, Kayode, B. Garcia. Position Real Madrid players Goalkeepers Casilla, Luca, Moha Defenders Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo, Achraf Midfielders Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Ceballos Forwards Ronaldo, Benzema, Vazquez, Mayoral Madrid remain without Dani Carvajal, Mateo Kovacic, Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas, though Bale is closing in on a return.Kiko Casilla will continue in goal but whether or not Luca Zidane is fit enough after a shoulder injury to retake a place on the bench remains to be seen.Potential starting XI: Casilla; Achraf, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo.BETTING & MATCH ODDS Madrid are 2/7 favourites to win, according to dabblebet, with Girona priced at 9/1 and the draw available at 5/1.Click here to view dabblebet’s full selection of available match markets. GAME PREVIEW Catalonia is preparing to go it alone.The region’s attempts to split completely from wider Spain will inevitably be drawn out for some time yet as both sides of the argument claim the legal high ground.And so the Spanish football season will progress with the division between its two biggest clubs facing the possibility of being made even more tangible by a real border.What that means for the future of La Liga and Barcelona’s place in it remains to be seen.But Real Madrid – assuming this match is not rescheduled or moved to another location – will get their first taste of life as a symbol of the Spanish government when they take on Catalan club Girona on Sunday.If the game does go ahead, a large police presence is inevitable and it also appears that Madrid will travel in an unmarked bus rather than their normal official vehicle.It looks set to be a complicated weekend for the Blancos, but may be but a partial preview of what the situation could be like when they visit Camp Nou next year.