Dominic Thiem Feels Federer Is Being Underestimated In Madrid, But Does He Agree? - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Feels Federer Is Being Underestimated In Madrid, But Does He Agree?

In his comeback week to the clay, should the 20-time grand slam champion be considered a serious contender on the surface?

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Roger Federer (photo by Roberto Dell Olivo)

MADRID: This week might be the first time Roger Federer has played a clay-court tournament in almost three years, but Dominic Thiem has vowed to take nothing for granted.

 

The Austrian will be the next test for the Swiss Maestro at the Caja Magica on Friday. Thiem is currently on a seven-match winning streak after triumphing at the Barcelona Open. Where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. He already has a win over Federer this year after triumphing in Indian Wells to claim his maiden Masters title at the age of 25.

With all things considered, it is fair to say that Thiem has a strong chance of victory in his upcoming match. However, he refuses to get carried away when it comes to locking horns with the most decorated grand slam singles champion in the history of men’s tennis.

“I think a lot of people underestimate him on the clay. He’s an unbelievable player. Only Rafa is better, I guess. I need to invest 100 percent to have a chance of winning.” Thiem told Ubitennis in Madrid.

Thiem’s view does raise a valid point. Has Federer’s credentials on the clay been forgotten? It is true that he has endured a lengthy absence from the surface, but he knows how to play on the clay. So far in his career, he has won 11 titles on the dirt. Six of which were at Masters level and one at the 2009 French Open.

Shortly after his gripping win over Gael Monfils, Federer was asked if he agreed with Thiem’s view about being underestimated by others.

“I don’t think anybody’s really underestimating me because I’m not coming back from an injury. I’ve had a good start to the season this year.” Said Federer. “It is pretty fast here in Madrid and I’ve won here in the past, so I guess players maybe know I don’t have that much clay court tennis in me in the last few years, but that doesn’t make me less dangerous to be quite honest.”

In their head-to-head Thiem leads the world No.3. Impressively scoring wins over him on the grass, hard court and clay. A rare achievement that is matched by only a select few players in the sport.

“I’m not the favorite against him. I think it will be a pretty open match.” Thiem previewed. “If we both play well as we did in Indian Wells, it going to be a great battle. If I play slightly worse, he is going to win it for sure.“

Meanwhile, Federer has hailed the achievements of his younger rival. However, when it comes to the ultimate test on the clay for him, the honor still belongs to Nadal in his eyes.

“Thiem has been playing great. Recently, winning Barcelona and also Indian Wells. I also saw what he could do on the slower, harder courts, not that I needed him to prove his point. But I think beating Rafa in Barcelona is a feat in itself. I still believe that Rafa is the measuring stick and not Dominic.” He stated.

The match between Thiem and Federer will take place, not before 17:00 local time on Friday.

List of ATP Finals Federer has played on the clay

Win May 2002 German Open, Germany Masters Clay  Marat Safin 6–1, 6–3, 6–4
Win May 2003 Bavarian Championships, Germany International Clay  Jarkko Nieminen 6–1, 6–4
Loss May 2003 Italian Open, Italy Masters Clay  Félix Mantilla 5–7, 2–6, 6–7(8–10)
Loss Jul 2003 Swiss Open, Switzerland International Clay  Jiří Novák 7–5, 3–6, 3–6, 6–1, 3–6
Win May 2004 German Open, Germany (2) Masters Clay  Guillermo Coria 4–6, 6–4, 6–2, 6–3
Win Jul 2004 Gstaad, Switzerland International Clay  Igor Andreev 6–2, 6–3, 5–7, 6–3
Win May 2005 German Open, Germany (3) Masters Clay  Richard Gasquet 6–3, 7–5, 7–6(7–4)
Loss Apr 2006 Monte-Carlo Masters, Monaco Masters Clay  Rafael Nadal 2–6, 7–6(7–2), 3–6, 6–7(5–7)
Loss May 2006 Italian Open, Italy Masters Clay  Rafael Nadal 7–6(7–0), 6–7(5–7), 4–6, 6–2, 6–7(5–7)
Loss June 2006 French Open, France Grand Slam Clay  Rafael Nadal 6–1, 1–6, 4–6, 6–7(4–7)
Loss Apr 2007 Monte-Carlo Masters, Monaco Masters Clay  Rafael Nadal 4–6, 4–6
Win May 2007 German Open, Germany (4) Masters Clay  Rafael Nadal 2–6, 6–2, 6–0
Loss Jun 2007 French Open, France Grand Slam Clay  Rafael Nadal 3–6, 6–4, 3–6, 4–6
Win Apr 2008 Portugal Open, Portugal International Clay  Nikolay Davydenko 7–6(7–5), 1–2 ret.
Loss Apr 2008 Monte-Carlo Masters, Monaco Masters Clay  Rafael Nadal 5–7, 5–7
Loss May 2008 German Open, Germany Masters Clay  Rafael Nadal 5–7, 7–6(7–3), 3–6
Loss Jun 2008 French Open, France Grand Slam Clay  Rafael Nadal 1–6, 3–6, 0–6
Win May 2009 Madrid Open, Spain (2) Masters 1000 Clay  Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–4
Win Jun 2009 French Open, France Grand Slam Clay  Robin Söderling 6–1, 7–6(7–1), 6–4
Loss May 2010 Madrid Open, Spain Masters 1000 Clay  Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–7(5–7)
Loss Jun 2011 French Open, France Grand Slam Clay  Rafael Nadal 5–7, 6–7(3–7), 7–5, 1–6
Win May 2012 Madrid Open, Spain (3) Masters 1000 Clay  Tomáš Berdych 3–6, 7–5, 7–5
Loss May 2013 Italian Open, Italy Masters 1000 Clay  Rafael Nadal 1–6, 3–6
Loss Apr 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters, Monaco Masters 1000 Clay  Stan Wawrinka 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 2–6
Win May 2015 Istanbul Open, Turkey 250 Series Clay  Pablo Cuevas 6–3, 7–6(13–11)
Loss May 2015 Italian Open, Italy Masters 1000 Clay  Novak Djokovic 4–6, 3–6

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Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev reach the second round in Hamburg

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Dominic Thiem beat 2016 finalist Pablo Cuevas 6-3 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 40 minutes in the first round of the Hamburg European Open to score his 24th win of the season and the 250th win of his career.

 

Thiem beat Cuevas for the fifth time in his seventh head-to-head clash against Cuevas and for the third time this year after his previous wins in Buenos Aires and at Roland Garros.

Thiem broke serve in the second game of the opening set after a lucky net cord return and hit a service winner in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-3. Both players traded breaks at the start of the start of the second set. Cuevas fended off a break point chance in the fifth game. Both players stayed neck and neck in the next game setting up a second set.

Thiem earned a mini-break at 2-1 after two mini-breaks from Cuevas. The Austrian player got a double mini-break with a backhand down the line winner on the ninth point. He closed out the match with a service winner on the next point.

“I wish that the grass court season would have been longer. I love this surface, but it was only one match unfortunately. I hope that I can do it better next year. I am back on clay for two weeks and the last two weeks of the year, so I will try to enjoy the mas much as possible”, said Thiem.

Last year’s ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev made a winning start to his campaign in his home tournament with a 6-4 6-2 victory over last week’s Bastad winner Nicolas Jarry in 71 minutes. Zverev converted four of his six break point chances and saved four of the five chances he faced. Zverev broke serve in the third game to build up a 5-2 lead, when Jarry netted a backhand.

Zverev did not convert three set points, as he was serving for the set. He dropped five consecutive points before serving out the set at 5-4. Both players went on serve in the first four games before Zverev broke at 15 in the fifth game, when Jarry netted a backhand. The German player held serve at love before earning a break to build up a 5-2 after a forehand error from Jarry. The Chilean player earned two break points in the eighth game, as Zverev was serving for the win. Zverev saved them before sealing the second set 6-2 with an ace.

Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-4 6-3 after 67 minutes. This year’s Monte-Carlo champion Fabio Fognini came back from one set down to beat Julian Lenz 6-4 6-4 setting up a match against Rudolf Molleker. Former Hamburg finalist Richard Gasquet beat Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal 6-2 7-6 (7-3) setting up a match against his compatriot Jeremy Chardy. Federico Delbonis saved three match points to beat Marco Cecchinato 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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Nicolas Jarry Breaks New Ground To Win The Swedish Open

The 23-year-old has become the latest player to win their first ATP title in 2019.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Chilean fifth seed Nicolas Jarry has won his first ATP title at the Swedish Open after prevailing in straight sets on Sunday.

 

The world No.64 held his nerve to edge his way past Argentina’s Juan Inacio Londero 7-6(3), 6-4. Playing in only his third ATP final, Jarry dropped serve once as he blasted 10 aces and won 76% of the points behind his first serve. Becoming the first person his country to win the tournament since Luis Ayala back in 1960.

“I’m very happy to be able to have this (the title). I know it is not very easy to get the first one in anything that you do. I’m really happy.” Jarry said during the trophy presentation.
“I want to say thank you to my team. I have a big team back home and we are very united. This is for all of them and all of my family who has been there since I was born.”

Jarry achieved his career milestone without dropping a set during the entire tournament. Earlier in the week he also scored wins over Jeremy Chardy and Frederico Delbonis. Londero was the only seeded player he faced in Sweden this year. Overall, he was broken eight times in six matches played.

The 23-year-old isn’t the first member of his family to win a title on the men’s tour. His grandfather is Jaime Fillol, who is a former top 20 player that reached the quarter-finals of the 1975 US Open. During his career, Fillol claimed eight trophies and was the former president of the ATP.

“He is one of the best Chilean tennis players. He taught me the sport since I was little,” Jarry told atptour.com earlier this week. “He took me to great tournaments. I remember Wimbledon when I was 12 and I remember going to the US Open a couple of times. There used to be an ATP [tournament] in Santiago, so I was always involved in the tennis.”

The new Swedish Open champion is the second player from Chile to win a title in 2019. Christian Garin claimed his maiden title back in April at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. He then went on to win the Munich Open, which is also a clay-court event.

Jarry exits Sweden with 250 ranking points and €90,390 in prize money earnings. He will next travel to Germany to play in the Hamburg Open.

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