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Tsitsipas Crashes Thiem’s Homecoming Party In Vienna

Greek edges Austrian for third time in as many matches this year
October 24, 2023
Stefanos Tsitsipas in action on Tuesday against Dominic Thiem in Vienna. By ATP Staff

Stefanos Tsitsipas spoiled the party for the local fans Tuesday at the Erste Bank Open by delivering a rock-solid opening-round display to down home favourite Dominic Thiem.

The fourth-seeded Greek prevailed 7-6(5), 6-4 after saving all three break points he faced at the ATP 500 in Vienna. Tsitsipas clinched a first set of narrow margins by rallying from 2/4 in the tie-break before a decisive break in the third game of the second set proved enough for him to book a second-round clash with Tomas Machac.

“He made it difficult, as always. Every single match that we have played this year has been on the edge, and it wouldn’t be any different this time," said Tsitsipas. "I really had to come up with some good shots towards the end and there were some extraordinary rallies that were being played during the course of the match.

“It was very physical and I had to stay very composed. Especially in the second set, he really stepped up his game, but I didn’t give him that break that he was looking for.”

With his one-hour, 59-minute win, Tsitsipas strengthened his bid to secure a spot at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. The 25-year-old is currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, having amassed a 46-20 record in 2023.

Tsitsipas and Thiem’s two previous Lexus Head2Head meetings this season had both been settled in deciding-set tie-breaks. Tuesday’s clash in Vienna initially looked like being an equally tight affair, as the two players lit up the Wiener Stadthalle with a series of blistering baseline exchanges. Tsitsipas’ ability to find big serves when he needed ultimately proved crucial, however, especially when he fended off three break points to hold for 1-1 in the second set.

Now 6-5 ahead in his Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry with Thiem, Tsitsipas has not lost in the opening round of an indoor event dating back to the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters. The Greek has struggled for his best level of late but could identify Tuesday’s win as a turning point as he chases his second tour-level title of the season in the Austrian capital.

Qualifier Machac earlier overcame Aleksandar Vukic 6-3, 6-1 to improve to 7-7 at tour-level for the season. The Czech is now up 11 spots to No. 63 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, setting him up for a new career-high in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings next Monday.

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In the final match of the day in Vienna, Grigor Dimitrov improved to 20-2 for opening rounds this season by defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-4. Dimitrov, a semi-finalist in the Austrian capital a year ago, won 80 per cent (33/41) of points behind his first serve en route to an impressive 94-minute win.

The Bulgarian is now 36-19 for 2023, a year in which he has consistently forged deep runs at ATP Tour events, including a championship-match run in Geneva. His next test this week will be a clash against Daniil Medvedev or #NextGenATP Arthur Fils. It was Medvedev who downed Dimitrov in the last four in Vienna a year ago.

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