Dominic Thiem Hopes To Emulate Murray In Grand Slam Title Hunt - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Hopes To Emulate Murray In Grand Slam Title Hunt

The 26-year-old has vowed to focus on his form and not where he is in the ATP rankings.

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Dominic Thiem - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

It was third time unlucky for Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open on Sunday, but the Austrian has drawn more motivation than ever following his latest loss.

 

The world No.4 was denied the Melbourne title by the formidable Novak Djokovic, who won the major for a record eighth time. It was a case of so near, but so far for Thiem who lead the match by two sets at one stage before losing in five. Making it the third time he has lost in the final of a grand slam after settling for runner-up twice at the French Open over the past two years.

Despite the heartbreak, Thiem is confident that he is heading in the right direction. Last season he was one of only two players to win five titles on the ATP Tour. Coincidentally the other was rival Djokovic.

“On the one hand it was Final defeat a disappointment, on the other hand a huge motivation for the next big tournaments.” Thiem told reporters about his Australian Open run.
“The first two lost (grand slam) finals were clear against Rafael Nadal in Paris (French Open). I was far away then.’
“This time it was close, it could have been different, I can blame myself. I’ve never been so close.”

The hope for Thiem is that he can follow in the footsteps of former world No.1 Andy Murray. The Brit clinched his first major title in his fifth appearance in a grand slam final at the 2012 US Open. However, he admits that it will be far from easy. Not only does he have to deal with the prestigious Big Three, those trying to succeed the trio are also gathering momentum in the sport.

“Andy Murray lost four Grand Slam finals before winning three and becoming number one in the world. I take him as a role model.” He said with a smile.
“But I may also lose the next two Grand Slam finals. (Rafael) Nadal has to be hit on the clay, Djokovic is the best on hard court, and (Roger) Federer can still Win Wimbledon.’
“Behind them, I will also have to consider Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.”

Now ranked as fourth in the world, Thiem is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top three. Something that hasn’t been achieved by an Austrian player since Thomas Muster back in 1997. Muster and Thiem briefly joined forces with each other earlier this year before they went their own ways.

“Of course, the top 3 would be nice, but it’s not my main goal. Rather, I want to continue the level I played in Australia, then that should come about with the ranking by itself.”

Whilst remaining grounded about his ranking prospects, Thiem’s former mentor believes he has what it takes to rise to the top. Gunter Bresnik was an instrumental figure throughout the majority of his career until last April. When he was replaced by former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu, who has been Thiem’s principle coach ever since.

“In the short term he will be number 3, in the long term he will be number 1,” he told ServusTV.
“Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer would have seen Thiem as the future number one years ago.
“The top three [and] top five – because I don’t want to exclude [Andy] Murray and [Stan] Wawrinka – he has beaten everyone during their prime.
“Hats off to the boy. He has what it takes and he will confirm it.”

Currently just 85 points behind Roger Federer, Thiem will have a crack to trying to break into the top three in less than two weeks time. His next tournament is scheduled to be the Rio Open, which will get underway on February 17th. A week before Federer’s next tournament in Dubai.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gilles Simon and Felix Auger Aliassime reach the the semifinal in Marseille

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Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Vasek Pospisil 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 17 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5, before Tsitsipas earned his first break, when Pospisil hit a backhand long. The Greek star wrapped up the first set with an ace after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas claimed his second break at 3-3 with a backhand return and reeled off 10 consecutive points to seal the second set 6-3.

Tsitsipas fired 8 aces and won 26 of his 30 first service points.

“It was not easy. I knew I would have to fight and be dynamic. He plays a very aggressive brand of tennis, so every point has to be treated respectfully. I played with passion and patience, and my fighting spirit, when I am in the right zone. It means good things can happen”, said Tsitsipas.

Gilles Simon cruised through to an upset 6-4 6-0 win over Danil Medvedev to advance to the semifinal. Simon converted five of his six break point chances and lost his serve only once.

The French veteran will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-2. The young Canadian star broke serve four times and and won 83 % of his first serve points.

Gerasimov earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead, but Auger Aliassime came back by winning two consecutive games to win the opening set 7-5. Auger Aliassime converted his fourth break point in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and sealed the second set with another break in the eighth game.

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Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

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Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

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Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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