Thiem Suffers ‘Very Tough’ First-Round Defeat By Andujar At French Open

Austria's Dominic Thiem reacts as he leaves after lossing against Spain's Pablo Andujar during their men's singles first round tennis match on Day 1 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 30, 2021. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP
Austria’s Dominic Thiem reacts as he leaves after lossing against Spain’s Pablo Andujar during their men’s singles first round tennis match on Day 1 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 30, 2021. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

 

 

Fourth seed Dominic Thiem blew a two-set lead and slipped to a “very tough” first-round loss at the French Open against Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Andujar staged a remarkable comeback to defeat the two-time Roland Garros runner-up 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 after almost four-and-a-half hours on Court Philippe Chatrier.

It is Thiem’s first opening-round exit at Roland Garros and the first time he has failed to reach at least the quarter-finals of the tournament since 2015.

“It does feel very tough, as I was used since 2016 to play very deep in this tournament,” said the 27-year-old.

“But at the same time, the last first-round exit in a Grand Slam, US Open 2019, is not that long ago.

“So (I) was not like the big three who are never losing before the quarters. I mean, I had early losses before, but especially here where since 2015 I didn’t have them, it feels weird and it feels very difficult.”

It is the first time in his 17-year career that Andujar has come from two sets behind to win.

“It’s a very special moment because I’m 35 and I don’t know how long I’m going to play,” said Andujar. “I had to believe to be able to get this result.”

Austrian Thiem lost both the 2018 and 2019 French Open finals to 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, but did win his maiden Grand Slam title last year at the US Open.

His form had been patchy this season, though, having lost to Lorenzo Sonego in Rome and Cameron Norrie in Lyon over the past two weeks.

“Lyon and here, the shots and all how I moved and everything was just not the real me, I would say, or my version who is able to play for big titles,” admitted Thiem. “It’s just not good enough at the moment.”

‘Strange’ situation for Thiem

He seemed to be in total control when clinching the second set, before also missing a breakpoint in the third game of the third set.

Thiem also wasted an opportunity to take a 3-1 lead in the decider and ended the match having taken just six of 19 breakpoints.

“Losing after being two sets to zero up, it’s very strange to me, and, I mean, I have to analyse it and think about what’s wrong at the moment,” he added.

“And then of course try to hit back as soon as possible.”

Andujar, the world number 68, had not beaten a top-10 player since 2015 until a win over Roger Federer in Geneva last week.

“Probably that win helped today,” he said. “I didn’t think I was in my best shape, but the belief was the key to the win today.”

Andujar will face either Argentina’s Federico Delbonis or Moldovan Radu Albot in the second round.

It will be an especially bitter blow for Thiem, though, after he had been placed in the opposite half of the draw to Nadal, world number one Novak Djokovic and Federer.

AFP

Thiem Ends Djokovic History Bid, Faces Nadal In Roland Garros Final

Austria’s Dominic Thiem (R) and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic hug at the end of their men’s singles semi-final match on day fourteen of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 8, 2019,./AFP

 

Novak Djokovic said his shock Roland Garros defeat to Dominic Thiem, which ended his dream of becoming just the second man in history to hold all Grand Slam titles at the same time twice, was played out in “hurricane conditions”.

Thiem downed the world number one 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 to set up a repeat of last year’s final against 11-time winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, who was second best to Thiem when it came to mastering the gloom, wind and damp of Paris, was bidding to join Rod Laver in the Grand Slam history books.

“When you’re playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it’s hard to perform your best,” said Djokovic.

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“It’s really just kind of surviving in this kind of conditions and trying to hold your serve and play, you know, one ball more than your opponent in the court.

“That’s what it felt like playing yesterday, to be honest.

“I don’t want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss. I mean, he took it, he won it, and well done to him.”

The match had been controversially suspended on Friday night with the match at one set each but with Thiem up 3-1 in the third and with all the momentum on his side.

Winds of 80km/h were forecast for the evening.

Asked to describe the conditions, Djokovic added: “One of the worst conditions I have ever been part of. That’s all I can tell you.”

Nadal Looks Within To Find Way Past Thiem

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates a point against Austria’s Dominic Thiem during their Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals match at the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 5, 2018. Don EMMERT / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal, trapped in a nightmare first set against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the US Open, knew where to look for answers.

He didn’t cast his eyes toward the support team in his box or send his racquets out to be restrung.

“When these things happen, normally I am not the guy that looks at the string or looks at the box or looks at the racquet,” said Nadal, who absorbed a 6-0 loss of the opening set, winning just seven points as Thiem rode roughshod over him in 24 minutes.

“I am the guy to look at myself,” Nadal said. “I needed to move forward, to change that dynamic, and I did. But the first step to change that dynamic is not to find an excuse on the racquet or on the string or on something that is not the truth. The only truth is that you have to do things better to be able to fight for the point and fight for the match.”

That’s just what the 17-time Grand Slam champion did over the course of a 4-hour 49-minute epic that concluded at 2:04 a.m. on Wednesday.

When it was all over, Nadal was happy to be in a seventh US Open semi-final but even happier that he’d done everything he could to turn the match around.

“I played a lot of long and tough matches in my career. That’s one more today,” he said after his 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) win.

“In some way when you give everything that you have, win or lose the personal satisfaction when you give everything and you play with the right attitude is the same.”

AFP

Dimitrov Defeats Thiem At ATP Finals

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov (R) embraces Austria’s Dominic Thiem after his three-set victory on day two of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 13, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Grigor Dimitrov held his nerve to launch his ATP Finals campaign with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Dominic Thiem on Monday, as Rafael Nadal prepared to start his quest for the biggest title missing from his impressive collection.

The elegant Bulgarian had the edge for most of an enthralling contest of one-handed backhands in front of a sizeable crowd at London’s O2 Arena but admitted he felt “pretty nervous” in his first appearance at the end-of-season showpiece.

The sixth seed, who has enjoyed the best season of his career, looked wobbly as he blew his chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the decider only to hit back immediately as Thiem himself faltered, sealing victory on his third match point.

“I’m not going to lie — I was pretty nervous, my first match out here,” said Dimitrov.

“I’m just very grateful to win that match, especially in that manner. It’s never easy to come out here and play for the first time.”

A single break was enough for Dimitrov to take the first set, with his fourth-seeded opponent only managing to land 37 percent of first serves on the zippy blue court.

In a tight second set, the 26-year-old earned a potentially decisive break point in the 11th game but Thiem, whose service numbers improved significantly, held firm and went on to break to love in the next game to level the match.

In a topsy-turvy decider, Dimitrov engineered a break and served for the match only for Thiem to hit back, but that only brought a stay of execution for the Austrian, who served two double faults to hand the advantage back to his opponent.

Later, Nadal takes on David Goffin in the second match in the Pete Sampras group, with questions over his fitness after the Spaniard admitted he was not training at 100 percent following his withdrawal from the Paris Masters with a knee injury.

The world number one has won 75 singles titles in his illustrious career, including 16 Grand Slams and 30 Masters events but he has yet to win the ATP Finals in seven previous appearances.

In the absence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, all eyes are on a potential showdown in London between Nadal and Roger Federer, who started his bid for a seventh ATP Finals title with a straight-sets victory against American Jack Sock on Sunday.

In the other match in the Boris Becker group, rising star Alexander Zverev beat Marin Cilic in three sets.

The ATP Finals feature the top eight fit male singles players and doubles teams that have accrued the most points throughout the 2017 season.

The tournament is organised on a round-robin basis, with the best two from each group progressing to the semi-finals.

AFP

Nadal Crushes Thiem To Set Up Wawrinka Showdown

Rafa Nadal moved to within one victory of ‘La Decima’ at the French Open as he demolished rising Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 6-0 with a daunting show of force in Friday’s semi-final.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, ready to reclaim his Roland Garros crown after a two-year hiatus, dispatched the sixth seed in little more than two hours and is on the verge of becoming the first player to win the same grand slam tournament 10 times.

He faces Swiss Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s showpiece match.

Thiem, like fourth seed Nadal, had reached the semi-final without dropping a set and had trounced Serbian defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

But after starting brightly in the early evening sunshine his challenge disappeared into the encroaching shadows on Court Philippe Chatrier — an arena on which Nadal has never lost a semi-final or final since his debut in 2005.

Nadal has dropped only 29 games to reach the final — surpassing his previous best of 35 in 2012 and only two more than Bjorn Borg’s record set in 1978.

Nadal Overpowers Thiem To Win Fifth Madrid Title

Carlos Moya, Rafael NadalRafael Nadal consolidated his flying start to the clay-court season by taking a record-extending fifth Madrid Open title on Sunday, battling past a determined Dominic Thiem to win 7-6(10-8) 6-4.

The Spaniard, who snapped a seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic to win their semi-final on Saturday, was given a much sterner test by Thiem than in last month’s final of the Barcelona Open.

Nadal had easily beaten Thiem 6-4 6-1 in Barcelona but got an early scare when he was broken in Sunday’s third game, soon falling 3-1 behind as the Austrian held.

Nadal broke back to win the sixth game and earned three set points at 5-4 but world number nine, Thiem, saved each one to eventually hold and force the tie-break.

The pair stayed neck and neck until Thiem lost his nerve and made two unforced errors in a row, gifting Nadal the set.

The 14-time grand-slam winner broke in the opening game of the second set and saved a break point in the next, maintaining a two-game advantage until a thrilling 10th game.

The 23-year-old Thiem earned two break points which Nadal saved to move within a point of the title.

Thiem resisted three championship points but Nadal seized the fourth with a drop shot to the back of the court to clinch his third consecutive clay-court crown, after winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April, and the 72nd tournament win of his career.

“The truth is I was up against an opponent who in the next five to 10 years will be fighting for the most important titles so I’m very happy to have won; it was a very exciting game,” Nadal told Television Espanola.

“It was a very important final for both of us – for him as it was the first in the Masters 1000 and for me it’s always special to play here in Madrid in this unique tournament. You never know when it might be the last so I always try to enjoy it.”