Marathon Man Wawrinka Survives Thiem
Swiss star scores another third-set tie-break win at BNP Paribas Open
Stan Wawrinka survived a gripping contest with Dominic Thiem on Thursday night at the BNP Paribas Open, beating the Austrian 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2) to reach the semifinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"The level was really high tonight. I'm really happy with the way I was playing, the way I found a way to win it,” said Wawrinka. “He's a strong player, really tough to play. I think in general we both played at a high level, and the match came down to only one or two points. In the third-set tie-break, I served really well. I was really focused on not giving him anything.”
The 31-year-old Wawrinka notched the 450th win of his career as he battled past Thiem in two hours and 31 minutes. The Swiss player is bidding to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, adding to his 2014 Monte-Carlo trophy (d. Federer).
"I think it's a little bit of experience, a little bit of confidence, a little bit of thinking about what you want to do and then just do it without thinking if you're gonna miss or not. In those moments, you need to trust your game and that's what I did well,” said Wawrinka. “I could have lost the match, for sure. But in general, I try to stay with my game plan and not give away anything. I also know that's when I play good tennis and I can beat anybody. So that gives me a lot of confidence.”
In his fourth meeting with Thiem, the right-hander rallied from the loss of his serve in the opening game of the match to break Thiem in the second and 10th games to seal the first set. Thiem hit back, though, breaking Wawrinka in the third game of the second set to level the match.
Thiem looked to carry his momentum into the third set, but was denied two break points as Wawrinka held from 15/40 in the first game, before then breaking his 23-year-old opponent to take charge at 3-0 in the decider. Thiem responded, finding the lines as he reeled off the next three games, but the Austrian was left to rue missing a break point chance at 30/40 on Wawrinka’s serve in the ninth game.
Thiem saved match point at 30/40 in the 12th game as Wawrinka netted a forehand, but in the ensuing tie-break, the Swiss was tidier from the baseline and reaped the rewards.
Wawrinka had battled back from the brink in the third round, as Yoshihito Nishioka served for the match twice before the Lausanne native prevailed. He is through to the semifinals in Indian Wells for the first time, on his first tournament appearance in the United States since winning the US Open in September (d. Djokovic).
Klaasen/Ram Through To Doubles Final
Sixth seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram reached their second final of the season as they defeated Gilles Muller and Sam Querrey 6-2, 6-4. Klaasen and Ram captured their fourth ATP World Tour team title last month in Delray Beach (d. Huey/Mirnyi). They also have the unique distinction of scoring back-to-back wins in their previous two matches over Rafael Nadal (w/Tomic) and Novak Djokovic (w/Troicki).