Dominic Thiem Is Out To Prove That He Is More Than a Clay Court Player - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Is Out To Prove That He Is More Than a Clay Court Player

The Austrian is set to re-enter the world’s top five following his run in Indian Wells.

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Dominic Thiem (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

For a player that has enjoyed the vast majority of the success in his career on the clay, Dominic Thiem is determined to prove that he is a contender on any surface.

 

The 25-year-old Austrian has been able to highlight his case at this week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. After a turbulent start to the year due to illness, Thiem has battled to his third Masters 1000 final and the first on a hard-court. On Saturday he edged his way past Milos Raonic in three sets. Hitting a series of breathtaking backhand winners and winning 82% of his first service points.

“I played really well the whole match, basically. I didn’t make a lot of unforced errors. I always made him (Raonic) play at least in my service games. And I had a very good first-serve percentage. That was great.” Thiem told reporters afterwards.
“In general, it was a very good match because the only break point I had to save was in the last game, and that was what I wanted to do, to play my service games well and not let him too many chances.” He added.

Sunday’s final will be Thiem’s 19th on the ATP Tour, but only his fourth on a hard court. His greatest achievements to date have occurred on the clay. Finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open last year and winning eight out of his 11 titles on the surface. Thiem is also one of only three players to score a trio of wins over Nadal on the clay. Alongside Novak Djokovic and Gastón Gaudio.

“One thing that would never change is that clay is my home.” Stated Thiem. “It’s my favourite surface. I grew up on it. I just feel great whenever I come back at it.”
“But that doesn’t mean that I’m not a good all-rounder, or not a good player on different surfaces.” He added.

Whilst there is praised for the Austrian and his performances on the dirt, sometimes he can be underestimated on other surfaces. Even though he is a current US Open quarter-finalist, former Mexican Open champion and has previously triumphed on the grass at the 2016 Stuttgart Open.

Out to prove that he is a true all-rounder, Thiem accepts the idea that the courts in Indian Wells reminds him of playing on the clay. This year is his sixth appearance in the main draw of the tournament.

“This surface and also the one in New York (US Open), for example, it suits me pretty well, because it’s bouncy, especially during the day. It’s not too fast, so it’s a little bit more similar than a clay court.” He explained.
“The biggest adjustment is the moving, that I cannot slide around.”

Standing in the way of Thiem and his maiden Masters 1000 title is the formidable Roger Federer, who is a five-time Indian Wells champion. Federer is the second player in the history of men’s tennis to win 100 titles after Jimmy Connors. He progressed to the final after rival Nadal withdrew from their clash due to a knee injury.

“It’s always something special to play him and also something special to compete in a Masters 1000 final.” Thiem said of his upcoming clash.
“I know it’s going to be very tough, but same time, I will give everything to hopefully win my first title.”

Their head-to-head is currently tied at 2-2. Thiem has lost their two previous encounters on hard courts. However, he has got the better of the Swiss world No.4 on clay and grass. Should Thiem prevail in the final, it would underscore his ability to be a all-round player. A prospect he is relishing.

“It’s not my call to be known as a multi-surface player, but it’s nice for me and also for my confidence to have really good results also on the other surfaces.” He concluded.

The men’s final will take place not before 15:30 local time on Sunday.

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Rafael Nadal claims his ninth title in Rome

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Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the eagerly awaited final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on the Centre Court in Rome to claim his ninth title of his legendary career in the Italian capital. Nadal has become the first player in history to win 34 Masters 1000 titles.

 

Nadal and Djokovic met for the 54th time in their careers and for the 26time in a final. Djokovic entered the Rome final with a 28-25 win-loss record and beat Nadal in three sets in this year’s Australian Open final by the scoreline of 6-3 6-2 6-3.

The top 2 players of the ATP Ranking won 12 of the last 14 Rome titles.

Nadal took a bagel win in a one-sided first set with three consecutive breaks and earned 59 % of his return points. Nadal broke in the first game of the opening set after a loose forehand from Djokovic. Nadal went up a double break to open a 3-0 lead with a forehand down the line and claimed the opening set in the sixth game with a service winner after 38 minutes.

Djokovic bounced back in the second set and earned a break point in the fourth game, but Nadal saved it with a forehand down the line winner.

The Serbian player saved three break points he faced in the seventh game of the second set and fended off another chance at 4-4. Nadal wasted a game point in the 10th game and sent a forehand long to drop serve in the 10th game. With his only break Djokovic claimed the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the third set.

The Serbian player earned his first break point of the match at 2-1 in the second set with a forehand, but Nadal saved it with an inside.in forehand winner. Nadal brought up three break points at 3-3 0-40 with a lob that Djokovic smashed into the net.

Djokovic saved the 4th fourth break point of the second set at 4-4 before breaking serve at deuce in the 10th game to close out the second set 6-4, when Nadal missed wide.

Nadal started the decisive set with an immediate break at deuce in the opening game. Djokovic saved a break point in the third game at deuce, but dropped his serve for the second time at 30 in the fifth game to trail 1-4 after a backhand error Nadal wrapped up the match with his third break in the seventh game on his first match point at deuce to clinch his ninth title in Rome and his 34th Masters 1000 trophy. Nadal has lifted his first title of the 2019 season and his first tournament since last August’s Rogers Cup.

Nadal won the Rome title for the second consecutive year becoming the first player to successfully defend a title in 2019. The Spanish player had not won a single tournament in 2019, but he reached three consecutive semifinals in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

The Spanish player becomes the oldest Rome champion in the history of the Rome tournament.

Nadal received the Rome trophy from former Roland Garros and Rome champion Gustavo Kuerten during a ceremony attended by Italian tennis legend Nicola Pietrangeli and Italian tennis Federation President Angelo Binaghi.

“For me it’s always an honour to play in Rome. I played here for the first time in 2005. I thank the crowd for their support. I played the first set very well. The most important thing is to return to my best level. All titles are special, but this win means a lot to me, because Rome has a very important place in the history of our sport. I had a very difficult week. For me, as I have said ever day, winning titles is important, but for me the most important thing is to feel myself competitive and healthy. And then with the feeling I am improving.” Nadal said during a post-match interview with TennisTV.

 “I know if I reach my level, you can win or you can lose, but normally I will have my chances. Especially on this surface. I am very happy with my victory. It was a great match, I played well and now I’m just enjoying the moment.” Nadal summarised.

 “It is always special playing against Novak, against Roger (Federer). These kind of matches has been tradition in the sport for the last 10 or so years.” he said.

 “Novak is having a great season. Winning in Australia and winning last week in Madrid. It’s an important win for me, but what means a lot is winning again here in Rome. It is one of the most important events of the year.”

Nadal did not drop a set en route to reaching the final, while four-time Rome champion Djokovic won two three-set marathon matches against Juan Martin Del Porto in the quarter final and Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal and spent 5 hours and 34 minutes compared to Nadal ‘s 3 hours and 22 minutes.

“No, I don’t want to talk about the fatigue. Simply Nadal was the better player today.” Djokovic said during the trophy presentation.

 

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Novak Djokovic battles past Diego Schwartzman to set up a blockbuster final against Rafael Nadal in Rome

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Novak Djokovic battled past Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 in the semifinal of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia setting up a blockbuster final against Rafael Nadal.

 

In their previous head-to-head match Djokovic recovered from 2 sets to one down to win in five sets at 2017 Roland Garros.

Both players played a good match, but Djokovic raised his level in the most decisive moments of the match. Djokovic was not affected by his 3-hour marathon match against Juan Martin Del Potro, where he saved two match points.

Djokovic won another thrilling match after 2 hours and 31 minutes against Schwartzman reaching his 9th final in Rome and his 49th title match at Masters 1000 level.

Djokovic converted four of his five break points and dropped his serve twice.

Djokovic got his first break in the eighth game, when Schwartzman netted a backhand. Djokovic held his serve with three winners in the ninth game to close out the opening set 6-3 after 38 minutes.

Djokovic and Schwartzman traded four consecutive breaks from 3-2 in the second set. Schwartzman went up a break twice at 4-2 and 5-3, but Djokovic broke back both times in the seventh and ninth games to draw level to 5-5 setting up a tie-break. Schwartzman took two mini-breaks and won all points on serve to win the tie-break 7-2 forcing the match to the third set.

In the third set they traded five service games before Djokovic earned the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, when Schwartzman made a backhand error. The Serbian player held serve in the ninth game to secure his spot in the final.

Djokovic and Nadal will meet for the 54th time. The Serbian player leads 28-25 in his head-to-head matches against the Spaniard. Both players hold the record of 33 Masters 1000 titles.

“He keeps on showing to the world why Nadal is one of the biggest legends of tennis history. I have the greatest respect for him. He is my greatest of all time. Every time we get to play each other, it’s a thrill. It’s the ultimate challenge”, said Djokovic.  

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Novak Djokovic Keeps Faith Ahead Of Schwartzman Semi-Final In Rome

Novak Djokovic is keeping the faith as he looks forward to a semi-final match with Diego Schwartzman in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

World number one Novak Djokovic is keeping the faith ahead of his Rome semi-final against Diego Schwartzman. 

 

The four-time champion survived a massive test late last night as he battled past Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 in just over three hours.

After saving two match points the Serb proved to be too clinical as he clinched victory at about 1am in the morning on Saturday.

In a short interview after his match Djokovic said that keeping faith was important in his quarter-final victory, I never lost faith I could come back to the match,” Djokovic explained.

“One break of serve, mini break in the tiebreak when he was 6-4, more or less open forehand that he was making the entire match, that’s all it took for me to come back. I’m just really pleased to overcome.”

In addition to keeping mentally strong, Djokovic also praised Del Potro’s performance as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, “He was playing really good. I tried my best obviously all the way till the end,” Djokovic said.

I lost probably the positioning of the court over him. Towards the end of the first he just started hitting the ball really well from both corners. Also backhand side, backhand down the line. He was playing really well. Gave me a lot of trouble.”

Next up for Djokovic is Diego Schwartzman who is into his first ever masters 1000 semi-final and is yet to drop a set this week.

The Serb leads the head-to-head 2-0 although their last match went to five sets at Roland Garros a couple of years ago. It should be a fascinating match which takes place at 8pm local time as Djokovic looks to keep the faith heading into the French Open.

 

 

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