Thiem Fights Back In Kitzbuhel
Top Austrian rallies from a break down in the decisive set
The 21-year-old Thiem, the top seed for the first time at an ATP World Tour event, prevailed 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 after two hours and 17 minutes. He rallied from a 1-4 deficit in the third set, winning the final five games.
“I’m happy to be in the quarters here. Unfortunately I had to beat my countryman to make it to the next round,” said Thiem, the 2014 Kitzbuhel runner-up. “Andreas would have deserved to win this one. He played a great match. The atmosphere was very nice. The crowd was cheering for both of us.”
Thiem is on the brink of breaking into the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and has won three titles this season. He claimed his maiden ATP World Tour crown in May in Nice, and followed with titles the past two weeks in Umag and Gstaad.
Fabio Fognini recorded his 20th clay-court match win of the season to book a spot in the quarter-finals. The third seed, competing in Kitzbuhel for the third time, saved six of seven break points to knock out 21-year-old wild card Dennis Novak 6-1, 6-2 in just 57 minutes. Fognini will next challenge sixth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who swept past Santiago Giraldo 6-0, 6-2 in 59 minutes.
Fourth seed Martin Klizan was not so fortunate. Despite striking eight aces, experienced qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu, now 33, won 6-3, 7-5. He next faces Federico Delbonis, a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 winner over Robin Haase, who beat Kohlschreiber for the 2012 title.
Serbian Dusan Lajovic also advanced to the quarter-finals. He led No. 2 seed Andreas Seppi 7-5, 3-0 when the Italian retired from the match with a middle back problem. He next meets 12-time clay-court titlist Nicolas Almagro, who knocked out 2008 finalist Jurgen Melzer 7-6(4), 7-5.