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Tennis • 10sBalls Shares Ricky’s Best ATP Matches Of 2017: No. 10 is Thiem vs. Dimitrov in Madrid

Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov during their round match at Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 11 May 2017. EPA/JUANJO MARTIN



Ricky’s best ATP matches of 2017: No. 10 is Thiem vs. Dimitrov in Madrid


By Ricky Dimon


Over the next week, Ricky is counting down his top 10 men’s matches of the year, in order from No. 10 all the way down to No. 1. It begins with a clay-court battle at the Madrid Masters between Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov. Thiem saved five match points before surviving in a third-set tiebreaker.


Madrid Masters third round: Dominic Thiem d. Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(9)


Five match points. That is how many opportunities Dimitrov had to scrape past Thiem and earn a place in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open. But for Thiem, who lost more than his fair share of extremely close matches throughout the 2017 campaign, it was his turn to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


Madrid’s No. 8 seed and eventual finalist trailed by a set and 3-1 in the second, and also by a break in the third set at 4-2. He continued to play from behind in the final-set tiebreaker, but there was no shortage of comebacks engineered by Thiem throughout this entertaining affair. The Austrian thwarted three straight match points starting from 6-3 behind in the tiebreaker and he saved two more at 6-7 and 8-9.


“I don’t always play [well] in the important points, but today yes,” Thiem commented. “I saved five match points. I don’t know if I ever saved that many match points in one match, so it’s a really good feeling.”


On the other hand, it was bitter pill to swallow for Dimitrov. But the Bulgarian, who finished the year at No. 3 in the world after winning the Nitto ATP Finals, played his part in an entertaining encounter that lasted two hours and 35 minutes. As the scored indicates, it could not have been any more competitive. Even in the department of total points, Thiem finished with only one more than Dimitrov–112 to 111.


“I think it was a very good match from both of us,” Thiem concluded. “The tiebreak in the third set was amazing. It was 4-3 for him and I played two very good points. He made two unbelievable rallies. The tiebreak is always a little bit (of) luck, but I think it was a good match for both of us. That’s the bad thing about tennis; only one guy can win.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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