Thiem Survives Cilic In Montreal To Extend Winning Streak
Austrian saves all nine break points
It wasn’t easy but fleet of foot, caressed groundstroke winners at close quarters and match sharpness proved to be the difference for Dominic Thiem on Thursday when he negotiated a tough test against Marin Cilic at the Coupe Rogers.
Thiem stared down all nine break points he faced — four at 3-3 in the first set and five in the second set at 0-1 (three) and 5-4 (two) — to win 7-6(7), 6-4 over one hour and 53 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I beat two amazing players. I've really had a great transition from good confidence in the European summer. That's also my first quarter-finals here. The match today was unreal because I saved nine out of nine break points, which doesn't happen that often,” said Thiem, who beat #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday.
Clever changes of pace and aggressive ball-striking from Cilic kept Thiem on his toes, but in the first set tie-break featuring two momentum shifts, it was the Austrian’s consistency that was decisive.
Having recovered from 15/40 in his first service game of the second set, Thiem pounced with terrific length on his groundstroke returns and broke for a 2-1 advantage with a fine crosscourt forehand winner in the service that left Cilic flat-footed at the net. Later, at 5-4, he weathered another storm from 15/40 and closed out his 31st win of 2019 on his fourth match point.
Second seed Thiem, who had gone 0-5 in previous appearances at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Canada, is building up a head of steam ahead of his quarter-final against eighth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, who knocked out Cristian Garin of Chile 6-3, 6-3 in 70 minutes.
The 25-year-old Thiem is now six matches unbeaten, which includes his 14th ATP Tour title last week at the Generali Open in Kitzbuehel (d. Ramos-Vinolas). Newfound confidence after his first home title has propelled him to success this week.
“The last three, four years I didn't play worse than this year, but I just came with low confidence and I came a little bit sad to Canada because I didn't play good in my own home tournament where I usually, of course, have a lot of pressure,” he said. “This year everything is different. I won this title at home. I made one of my biggest dreams come true. Of course, I'm so confident coming here. That's the difference.”
Both Thiem and Medvedev are bidding to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. Thiem leads 2-0 in their FedEx ATPHead2Head series.
“It's going to be a very difficult match like the last two times... I know he's in good shape right now. When he plays like this, he's difficult to beat,” Medvedev said. “So I'll consider this match as a test. Am I able to beat players that are in good shape like he is right now and like him? That will be a good test.”
On the top half of the draw, 16th seed Gael Monfils reached his second Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season (Indian Wells) with a 6-4, 6-0 win against 22-year-old Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who qualified for the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Monfils saved all three break points faced and will next meet Wimbledon semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut.
The Spaniard won 50 per cent of his second-serve points in a 7-5, 7-5 victory against France's Richard Gasquet. Bautista Agut will be vying to make his first Masters 1000 semi-final of the season and third of his career.