In arguably the best performance of his career to date, Dominic Thiem produced the upset of the tournament so far when he ousted world No. 3 and defending Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open. After dropping the opening set 6-1, Thiem rebounded with a 6-2 second set, before stealing the final set 6-4.
It was Thiem’s first victory over a Top 10 competitor.
“I cannot really believe it,” he admitted. “I was in this famous zone during the match. I was really unbelievably concentrated. I think that’s the way how you can play these very good matches, if you are 100 per cent concentrated and 100 per cent out on the court.”
“Of course I was a little bit nervous, but it wasn’t the reason for the first set,” Thiem said. “His pace was just too high for me. “I played a good game in the beginning of the second set to break him, and then I started to get used to more and more his pace and angles and his game. I think it’s probably one of the best what the men’s tennis has at the moment. Also, I played unbelievable the second and the third set.”
The Austrian youngster began his season at No. 139 and is currently at a career-high No. 70 Emirates ATP Ranking, breaking into the Top 100 after reaching the second round in Rotterdam. He is now ranked at No. 70 and rapidly rising through the ranks.
His opponent Feliciano Lopez reached the third round in Madrid after rallying from a set down to defeat Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. It was his second straight three set win and could mean he will be slightly drained when he arrives on court on Thursday.
This marks the first time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, and should make for an intriguing contest. Thiem’s hypemachine will be working overtime this week after he toppled the Monte Carlo champion in his last outing, and it will be interesting to see if he can carry that momentum forth into his match on Thursday.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem in Three Sets