Thiem Saves 5 M.P. To Edge Dimitrov In Madrid
Eighth seed Dominic Thiem went the distance in his third-round match Thursday at the Mutua Madrid Open, saving five match points in a thrilling 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(9) victory over No. 12 seed Grigor Dimitrov.
“I think it was a very good match from both of us,” said Thiem, who improved to a 2-1 record against the Bulgarian in the FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “The tie-break in the third set was amazing. It was 4-3 for him and I played two very good points. He made two unbelievable rallies. The tie-break is always a little bit [of] luck, but I think it was a good match for both of us. That’s the bad thing about tennis, only one guy can win.”
The Austrian rallied from 2-4 in the final set and 3/6 in the tie-break, also saving match points at 6/7 and 8/9 before converting on his second match point to advance in two hours and 34 minutes. Thiem had forced a decisive set after fighting from 1-3 down in the second, starting his comeback by winning four straight games against Dimitrov.
“I don’t always play good in the important points, but today yes,” he said. “I saved five match points. I don’t know if I ever saved that many match points in one match, so it’s a really good feeling.
“Tie-breaker is always 50/50. I would say it’s a little bit lucky. But in the third set I showed really good mentality. I was a break down earlier in the set and I came back good. I’m really happy I won a tie-breaker [match] because last one I lost against [Stan] Wawrinka in Indian Wells and now it was luckily my turn.”
With his victory, Thiem moves ahead of Wawrinka to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, trailing just Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the leaderboard. The 23 year old will be looking to qualify for the ATP Finals for a second straight year.
Thiem also advances to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season, following his run earlier this year in Indian Wells, and will be looking to reach the semi-finals for the first time at this elite level. He advanced to the clay-court final two weeks ago at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he upset World No. 1 Andy Murray before falling to Nadal.
He next faces #NextGenATP’s Borna Coric, who scored his own upset win over Murray earlier Thursday. Coric, a lucky loser this week in Madrid, defeated Thiem in their previous meeting earlier this year at the Miami Open presented by Itau.