© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Dominic Thiem earns his eighth consecutive FedEx ATP Head2Head win against French veteran Gilles Simon.

Dominic Dominant: Thiem Extends Winning Streak Against Simon

Seventh seed to face 40-year-old Karlovic

Dominic Thiem advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open for the third time on Monday, ousting 27th seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1. Thiem has now won eight consecutive matches against the French veteran, taking a 9-2 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

The Austrian’s heavy baseline game was too much for Simon as day turned to night in the desert. As always, Thiem took big cuts at the ball, and he did not allow the 34-year-old to effectively counter-punch, grasping firm control of rallies from the first shot.

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Thiem won 61 per cent of his return points and saved all five break points he faced to triumph in 67 minutes. The seventh seed has not lost a set thus far in the year’s first ATP Masters 1000 event, also defeating Aussie Jordan Thompson in straight sets.

The strong start to the tournament was needed for Thiem, since he did not win a title during the ‘Golden Swing’— the series of five tournaments in Latin America — for the first time since 2015. The 25-year-old’s best performance in Indian Wells came in 2017 when he made the quarter-finals, losing to Stan Wawrinka in a final-set tie-break.

Thiem will next face 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic, who defeated Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-3, 7-6(3).

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In his first-round win against Aussie Matthew Ebden, Karlovic became the oldest match winner at a Masters 1000 event since the level was created in 1990. He then bettered that feat by upsetting fellow Croat Borna Coric in the second round. Karlovic will try to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final since 2011 Indian Wells.

“That would be unbelievable. It’s a long way [away], still,” Karlovic said. “I really don’t have anything to lose. I’m just going to go out there and enjoy.”

Did You Know?
Thiem and Karlovic will meet for the first time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.