Thiem Reaches Second Kitzbühel Final
Austrian to meet Ramos-Vinolas in final
A lot has changed for Dominic Thiem since he reached his maiden ATP Tour final at the Generali Open in 2014. The Austrian has captured 13 tour-level trophies, contested two Roland Garros finals and reached a career-high No. 4 in the ATP Rankings.
But one thing remains the same. The Austrian is still seeking his first tour-level trophy on home soil. On Friday, he moved one win away from achieving that feat in Kitzbühel after overcoming Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 7-6(6).
“It is amazing [to be in the final]. [It is my] second time after five years ago, which is amazing,” said Thiem. “All three matches had a great atmosphere with a sold-out centre court. It is a big childhood dream of mine to win this tournament. I will try everything to get it done tomorrow.”
The 25-year-old won 73 per cent of service points (49/67) to advance to his fourth tour-level championship match of the year (2-1) after one hour and 42 minutes. Thiem has now won 10 matches at this ATP 250 tournament (10-7) and improves to 27-11 this season.
Following a competitive opening six games, Thiem claimed 12 of the next 14 points to charge into a one-set lead. The World No. 4 returned from behind the baseline, hitting with depth to neutralise rallies before stepping up the court to pressure his opponent into crucial errors.
After trading early breaks, a tie-break was needed to decide the winner of the second set. Following a rain delay, Thiem rallied from 1/4 down to claim victory as Sonego fired a backhand return beyond the baseline.
Thiem will need to beat in-form Albert Ramos-Vinolas if he is to add to his 2019 titles at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer) and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Medvedev). The Spaniard advanced to his second ATP Tour final in as many weeks after beating Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-4.
“Albert is in super shape. He won Gstaad which is even higher altitude than Kitzbuhel and now, again, he beat three or four amazing players, so it is going to be tough," said Thiem. "We had one match on a fast hard court in China and one match in Rio on clay which was very good from me. I am going to take a look at that match, what things I did good, what things I did bad and then make my tactics for tomorrow.”
Ramos-Vinolas, who captured his second tour-level crown in Gstaad last week, rallied from 2-5 down in the opening set and broke the #NextGenATP Norwegian’s serve on four occasions to improve to 12-1 in his three most recent tour-level events.
“[At 2-5 down] I changed my tactics, I stepped in a little bit more,” said Ramos-Vinolas. ”With the forehand I changed a little more down the line, also with the return a little bit more closer to the lines.”
Prior to his title run in Gstaad last week, the 31-year-old reached the semi-finals at the Swedish Open (l. to Londero). Ramos-Vinolas lifted his maiden trophy at the Båstad-based event in 2016.
Thiem and Ramos Vinolas are tied at 1-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Ramos-Vinolas defeated Thiem 6-1, 6-4 at the 2016 Chengdu Open, before the Austrian levelled their series with a victory by the same score line at the 2017 Rio Open presented by Claro.
”I expect a very difficult match [against Thiem in the final]. Obviously, he is probably one of the best on clay at the moment and he is playing at home. It is going to be a difficult match.”