10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Thiem Topples Federer To Cap Off Amazing Resurgence With Indian Wells Tennis Title

Dominic Thiem of Austria holds up his trophy after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 17 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO



By Ricky Dimon


Dominic Thiem went into the BNP Paribas Open with only three match victories through the first two months of the season. But if there is one thing this fortnight taught us, it’s that Indian Wells likes surprises.


After all, this is a event that produced wild card and world No. 60 Bianca Andreescu as its women’s champion.


Thiem’s triumph was by no means as shocking, but it still came from completely out of nowhere given that he could not even win more than two matches on his preferred clay-court surface–none of anyone in the top 75–during February’s Golden Swing. He capped off his sudden turnaround by upsetting Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final of 2019’s first Masters 1000 tournament on Sunday.


“It was a great week and I think also a very good final today,” the No. 8 seed said. “Just amazing that I got here; my first really big title. I came from a really bad form in all categories and now I’m the champion of Indian Wells. It feels not real at all…. It’s unreal. It’s a pleasure to compete against Roger in this great final. I lost my last two Masters 1000 finals, but I won this one and it feels as nice as a Grand Slam.”


The next logical step for Thiem would be a major title. He is already a French Open runner-up (2018) and he now finds himself in the top four of the world rankings.


But for now he has a few days to celebrate the biggest title of his career–by far–before another Masters 1000 event in Miami.


In addition to his triumph over Federer, Thiem rolled through the desert with straight-set wins over Jordan Thompson, Gilles Simon, and Ivo Karlovic without even requiring a single tiebreaker. He got a walkover from Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals before scoring an impressive 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 6-4 semifinal victory over Milos Raonic’s.


Thiem committed only nine unforced errors in three sets against Raonic, but the eye test suggests his performance on championship Sunday was even more incredible. The 25-year-old Austrian consistently took huge cuts off both wings and almost always landed those groundstrokes. He served at 69 percent, won 60 percent of the points even when he had to throw in a second serve, and saved nine of 11 break points while time and time again coming up clutch on the most important points.


“I was in the zone the whole match,” Thiem assured. “I had to get used to Roger’s game. In the first set he was playing amazing. It was completely different from my opponents before him…. It was a very good match [all the way through] the end, and I had to fight to serve it out (late in the third set).”


“I’m not too disappointed,” said Federer. “I feel like he had to come up with the goods, and it did feel like to some extent it was on my racket. I just came up against somebody who was on the day a bit better when it really mattered. That’s how it goes.”


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *