Dominic Thiem dreams to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem dreams to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

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Last year’s US Open champion Dominic Thiem lost two consecutive finals to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019. The Austrian player faced the Spanish legend four times in his favourite Grand Slam tournament and won just one set in the final in 2019. Nadal beat Thiem 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 in three hours to lift his 12th Roland Garros title. 

 

Last October Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2020 French Open in three sets, while Thiem lost an epic quarter final clash against Diego Schwartzman after five hours. 

Thiem reached the Roland Garros Junior final in 2011. He made his debut in the senior tournament in 2014 and lost to Nadal in straight sets. In 2016 Thiem reached the French Open semifinal and lost to Djokovic in straight sets. 

Thiem was the only player who beat Nadal on clay in 2017 and 2018. 

Thiem ended Nadal’s 19-match winning streak on clay to reach the Rome Masters 1000 semifinal before losing to Djokovic in straight sets. The Austrian star did not drop a set and beat Djokovic 7-6 6-3 6-0 en route to his second straight Roland Garros semifinal, but he lost to Nadal 6-3 6-4 6-0. 

Thiem beat Alexander Zverev to advance to his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, but he lost to Nadal in the final. He became the second Grand Slam finalist from Austria, joining 1995 Roland Garros champion Thomas Muster. Thiem beat Nadal en route to his second consecutive Masters 1000 final in Madrid ending the Spaniard’s 50-set clay winning streak.

Thiem won an ATP 500 title on clay in Barcelona (beating Nadal and Danil Medvedev) and beat Nadal on this surface for this surface for the fourth consecutive season becoming the second player to earn four wins or more over Nadal on clay. 

In a recent interview to the German website Sportschau.de Thiem talked about the biggest goal of his career.

“My biggest goal is to win the French Open. I like the tournament the most, and the conditions suit my game. I played the junior final in 2011, and I have wanted to win it ever since. Rafael Nadal is in a league of his own at Roland Garros. I am confident against him at other tournaments, but it becomes extra tough on Court Phillippe Chatrier. He lost twice in 16 years in Paris; that’s insane. Rafael should be the favourite in Paris for another year or two. Nadal is in a class of his own, and I don’t know if I trust myself to do it I have never managed to beat him there. Beating him on this center court is probably one of the hardest things there has ever been in sport, but it’s still my goal and I will try again in 2021.. ”, said Thiem. 

Thiem is one of the biggest favourites at the upcoming Australian Open. He finished runner-up in the Australian Open final last year losing to Novak Djokovic and hopes to avenge this defeat next February at Melbourne Park and win the second Grand Slam title of his career. The Austrian player claimed his first US Open title in his fourth Grand Slam final after beating Alexander Zverev in five sets after 4 hours and 2 minutes. After winning his first Grand Slam title, Thiem believes that he can win more Major tournaments. 

“I definitely want to win the Australian Open. I go to every and want to win it, perhaps with the exception of Wimbledon. In a match I have not loosened up now because I have won a Grand Slam. I am just as nervous as before. That won’t change until the end of my career. I also know that when I play well and I am well prepared, my chances are good to get far. My preparation in the off season went very well. I worked a lot on my physical preparation. It was very nice to spend the Christmas holidays at home in Austria with my family”. 

Thiem led Djokovic by two sets to one in last year’s Australian Open final and admitted that it took time to get over this defeat. 

“Over time, I have learnt to deal with defeats better. Of course there are defeats that really hurt. Last year’s defeat in Australia was one of those, and I must have gnawed at it for tow, three or four months”. 

Thiem is spending 14 days of quarantine in Adelaide with five other players and their training partners. He thinks that the 72 players, who are forced to stay in their room for 24 hours in hard lockdown in Melbourne, will pay the price after 14 days of lockdown. 

 “It’s clear there is a complete inequality of opportunity. All players are fresh out of their pre-season. They are in really good shape and have top fitness. If you can’t leave your room for 14 days, it does not matter how much fitness you do in the room, a lot of it just goes away, but that’s the risk we all took. It’s very bitter and unfortunate. For all the players in Melbourne, I think it’s OK. They can train as it was planned. Fortunately, those who are in hard quarantine, will have nine days before the start of the Australian Open”. 

Thiem has been used to quarantine, as he spent 14 days in New York last summer before winning the first Grand Slam tournament of his career. “I am now used to quarantine and I know what to expect. The bubble was a big change in New York, but I have experienced that in Paris, Vienna and London. The situation is not worse in Australia. It is not easy to play a tournament behind closed doors. We expect a bug cheers from the fans after a great rally, but we do not hear anything from the crowd. In these circumstances we feel alne on the court”.

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Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv

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Botic Van de Zandschulp cruised past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. Van de Zandschulp won 83% of his first serve points and hit 28 winners to Sousa’s six. 

 

The Dutchman will face Liam Broady, who Serbian wild-card Hamad Medjedovic 7-5 6-3. 

Tomas Martin Etchevery edged past 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-7 (0-7) 6-4  scoring the biggest win of his career. 

Arthur Rinderknech came back from one set down to beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3. Rinderknech set up a second round against third seed Diego Schwartzman. 

Emil Ruusuvuori broke serve five times in his 6-3 6-2 win over J.J Wolf. 

Sebastian Korda beat Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Maxime Cressy. Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the Tel Aviv tournament, which returns for the first time since 2021.

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Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open

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Danish Next Gen rising star Holger Rune edged past Tim Van Rijthoven 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round at the Sofia Open in his first appearance at this tournament. 

 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Rune earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks in the first two games. There was little to separate both players in the next games, which went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break of the second set and won the final three points to close out the second set 8-6. 

Rune won his first title in Munich and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. 

 “I did not want to go to three sets. I had the break and led 5-2 in the second set tie-break. If it had happened, I was going to fight for sure and try to take it in three, but I am very happy to win in two. I am really working hard every day and trying to improve any small things I can. I think today I stayed very focused all the time. I lost my focus one time on serve, when maybe I should not have been broken, but other than that I am very happy with my first match. The first match is always a  bit difficult”, said Rune. 

Australia’s Alexander Vukic beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. Vukic broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fognini converted his fourth break-back point to draw level to 4-4 before saving a break point at 5-5. Fognini went up a 6-3 lead, but he wasted six set points in the tie-break. Vukic closed out the tie-break 13-11 on his third set point. 

Fognini earned a break to take a 2-1 lead. Vukic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 in the fourth game. Fognini lost four consecutive points from 4-5 30-0. Vukic earned the decisive break on his first match point to seal the second set 7-5. 

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Dominic Thiem battles past Laslo Djere in three sets in Tel Aviv

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Dominic Thiem came back from one set down to beat Laslo Djere 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in 2 hours and 40 minutes reaching the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. 

 

Djere broke serve in the third game to take a 3-1 lead. Thiem broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Djere earned his second break in the 11th game to close out the first set 7-5. 

Thiem broke serve at deuce in the sixth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Djere broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Djere earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Thiem did not face a break point in the third set and converted his fourth break point in the third game to seal the third set 6-4. 

“I did not get off to a great start. I got the break in the second set and I was a bit lucky I could turn the match around. The third set was a real grind. I am vert grateful to everyone who came tonight. It is really nice to play in Israel”, said Thiem.  Roman Safiulin came back from one set down to beat Hugo Grenier 3-6 6-4 6-2 in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Safiulin earned his first ATP Tour win since he beat Mikael Ymer in Belgrade last April.

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