Thiem Advances To Astana QFs In Final-Set Tie-Break
For the second straight match at the Astana Open, Dominic Thiem earned a hard-fought victory by winning a closing tie-break. After taking a second-set tie-break against Juan Pablo Varillias in the first round, the Austrian edged Marcos Giron 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) on Saturday at the ATP 250.
The result saw Thiem through to his 76th tour-level quarter-final, his fourth of 2023 (Estoril, Munich, Kitzbühel) and his first on hard courts since reaching the 2022 Antwerp semis (l. To Korda).
"It was a very close match again. It's obvious that here with these conditions there are many close matches, so many tie-breaks as well," he said, later explaining how the fast indoor conditions favour the server. "I was expecting a really tough one. I was starting very well, very aggressive, so that was good. Second set he started to play much better and the third set was a very close battle — I saved some break points, he did [also].
"I played a very good tie-break. This was the best part of the match."
Both men broke serve twice in the match, with Thiem creating nine break chances to Giron's seven. Giron failed to serve out the second set at 5-3 but responded by breaking for the second time to seal the set.
Austria's Thiem saved three break points in the final set, including two from 15/40 at 3-4. On the first, he wrong-footed Giron with a deep forehand volley after the American hit a booming forehand at his approaching opponent. Thiem varied his game to great effect down the stretch, mixing in delicate shots at opportune moments to complement his baseline power.
From 2/2 in the decisive tie-break, the Austrian won the final five points of the match with rock-solid play, while Giron's level dipped. Thiem will next face countryman Sebastian Ofner, who upset third seed Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-2 to close Saturday's play in Astana. Ofner saved both break points he faced against the Kazakh home favourite.
Earlier on Saturday, top seed Tallon Griekspoor earned a 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-1 win against Japan's Sho Shimabukuro. The Dutchman saved the only two break points he faced in the match, firing 16 aces and wining 86 per cent of his first serve points on a stellar serving day.
Griekspoor dominated the final set by claiming the only three breaks of the match and will next meet American Sebastian Korda, who followed up a three-set opening win against Alexei Popyrin with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win against Nuno Borges on Saturday. Both players created three break chances in the match, with Korda converting two to his opponent's one.