File photo of Dominic Thiem© AFP
Dominic Thiem scripted a fine comeback performance to defeat former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka for a place in the second round of Paris Masters. Thiem saved a match point in the third set at 3-5 before rallying past Wawrinka 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the second round. The thrilling match between two of the best one-handed backhands in recent memory ended after two hours and 31 minutes of thrilling play. “It’s very nice to share a great and close match like that with Stan because we have a history together of many great matches. Obviously, he’s one of my big idols backhand wise,” Thiem was quoted as saying by ATP. While Thiem hit highlight-reel strokes throughout the match, particularly with jaw-dropping passing shots, Wawrinka was the first to come close to winning. The Swiss had a match point at 5-3, 40/30, but double-faulted long. It was one of six double faults he committed during the game.
Thiem took good advantage of the little opportunity, returning to serve after Wawrinka’s forehand went long. In what became a battle of wills, the Austrian broke again in his next return game and did not waste his chance to win the match.
When Wawrinka’s final forehand return went long, Thiem celebrated by holding his arms up and taking a big breath, a sign of how much the moment meant to him. His first victory on a hard-court ATP Masters 1000 event since the 2019 Rolex Paris Masters.
“The last two years I have lost more close matches than I have won, so this one is very, very important for me. The tennis has been getting better since Vienna. I beat two great guys in the qualies and now Stan in a match after saving match point, so it gives me a huge boost,” Thiem added.
Thiem will next play defending champion Holger Rune. The pair met earlier this year in Monte-Carlo, where the Dane prevailed in straight sets.
Topics mentioned in this article