Thiem Saves 5 M.P. To Edge Dimitrov In Madrid

Austrian to face Coric in the quarter-finals

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.

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“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.  

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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.

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