Over the last 3 weeks Dominic Thiem has proved that he is a legitimate threat to the top players on the ATP World Tour. The Austrian’s trip to South America saw him win 2 titles (on 2 different surfaces, on clay in Buenos Aires and on the hard courts of Acapulco) claiming notable victories over Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Grigor Dimitrov in the process. Thiem is now up to a career high ranking of world number 14 and is within touching distance of the top 10. The Austrian now looms as one of the biggest threats to the ‘big 4’ and will undoubtedly make an impact at the biggest events throughout the remainder of the year.
Dominic Thiem has shown all the characteristics of a future Grand Slam champion over the last 3 weeks in South America. The Austrian already has such a complete game, a damaging but consistent serve, a monster forehand, a beautiful (and effective) backhand as well as great movement. Dominic still has room for improvement, the Austrian can make some slight changes to make his game more effective on quicker surfaces, including improved volleys. It is clear that Dominic has the game to be win titles on every surface. More importantly, Thiem has shown that he has a superb mentality which will surely see him rise to the top of the men’s game in the not so distant future.
Dominic showed great resilience and reaffirmed his prowess on the dirt by claiming his fourth career title in Buenos Aires. The 22-year-old was forced to go the distance in 4 of his 5 matches in the Argentinian capital, claiming notable victories over Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro, both in deciding set tiebreakers. Thiem’s 6-4 4-6 7-6 victory over Rafael Nadal at the semi-final stage of the event was a huge moment of the Austrian, proving that he has the game to beat the very best in the world. Thiem saved a match point at the later stage of that match with a thunderous forehand winner that clipped the line. Dominic backed-up his momentous victory over Nadal impressively well by winning a gruelling final over Nicolas Almagro 7-6 3-6 7-6. Dominic showed maturity beyond his years to defeat 2 vastly more accomplished opponents under enormous pressure in such close, physical matches to claim the title.
Dominic didn’t have much time to celebrate his Buenos Aries title, flying straight to Rio where he continued his impressive form before ultimately running out of gas. Thiem managed to navigate his way through to the semi-final stage in Rio despite the short turnaround from a gruelling week in Argentina. The week has highlighted by a stunning 6-3 6-2 demolition of David Ferrer at the quarter-final stage, one of the best performances of the Austrian’s career and one of the best individual performances by any player in season 2016.
Unfortunately, Dominic finally ran out of steam at the semi-final stage in Rio, suffering a disappointing straight set loss to Guido Pella. Dominic went down fighting and was very classy in defeat, giving due credit to his opponent and refusing to make excuses for his loss. The Australian would strongly the next in Acapulco.
After 2 great weeks on clay, Dominic showed that his game can be equally effective on a hard court by claiming the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco. Dominic was a little slow to adjust to the conditions in his first few matches of the event (which is very normal) but managed to overcame some tough early challenges including a second round clash with Dmitry Tursunov where Thiem saved break points to stop the Russian from serving for the match in the deciding set.
Dominic’s best performance of the week was a stunning 7-5 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov, dominating the Bulgarian in all areas. Dominic continued his form in the semi-finals where he thumped Sam Querrey 6-2 6-2 in a near perfect performance. These two matches were a big deal because Dominic totally outplayed two players who play their best tennis on a hard court.
Dominic secured the biggest title of his career and his first title of a hard court with a gutsy 7-6 4-6 6-3 win over Bernard Tomic. The 22-year-old was far from his best in the opening set (and for large periods of the match) but managed to grab a one set lead through guts and determination. Dominic struggled with Tomic’s unorthodox and lethargic play in the second set but was far too strong when it mattered most in the deciding set. It was a great week for Dominic, proving that he can deal with a whole number of different circumstances and come out on top.
The future looks extremely bright for Dominic; the sky is the limit. I look forward to seeing Dominic make a big impact in the coming months, particularly during the clay court season where he will be one of the toughest opponents to defeat.
I will be back for Indian Wells where I will be writing previews for ATP matches for the first time. I’m really looking forward to Indian Wells and the continued support of my ongoing readers, In the mean time I will be adding a couple of posts this week as the WTA tour heads to Kuala Lumpur and Monterrey for International events, I will be adding full match predictions for each event. Thank you 🙂