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It’s Survive And Advance For Thiem And Del Potro At French Open

Dominic Thiem of Austria leaves the court after winning against Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan their men?s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2019. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG
Dominic Thiem of Austria leaves the court after winning against Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan their men’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2019. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

“Survive and advance” is a phrase most commonly used in March, when college basketball takes center stage in the sports world.

 

To say it also applies at each of tennis’ four Grand Slams would be a gross understatement.

 

Sure, in the early rounds conserving energy for use later in the tournament is ideal. But winning is the only name of the game, and whatever consequences come with the struggle to get there can be dealt with down road. That is without question the mentality Dominic Thiem and Juan Martin Del Potro will express through their first two respective matches at the French Open.

 

Thiem has already ridden a pair of proverbial roller-coasters, just barely managing to avoid fifth sets on each occasion. The 2018 Roland Garros runner-up recovered from a 4-0 deficit in the fourth-set tiebreaker on Tuesday to hold off American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2. During second-round action on Thursday, Thiem trailed Alexander Bublik 5-2 in the fourth and faced two set points on his own serve at 15-40 in the eighth game only to storm back for a 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5 victory.

 

“Today was very difficult,” the fourth-ranked Austrian said after beating Bublik. “It was a tough matchup for me because there were almost no rallies. He gave me no rhythm at all…. Probably for spectator nice to watch because he played so different, but for me it was very tough.

 

“And at the end, I’m only happy that I’m through this four sets.”

 

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina plays Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan during their men?s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2019.  EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina plays Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan during their men’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 30 May 2019. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

As for Del Potro, he went four in his opener (lost the first set to Geneva runner-up Nicolas Jarry) and then needed five on Thursday evening against Yoshihito Nishioka. The Japanese lefty forced a decider by playing a brilliant fourth-set ‘breaker, but Del Potro had enough left in the tank to triumph 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2.

 

“It was a tough match, for sure,” the Argentine admitted. “We played four hours, I think. Long rallies; long points…. I’m very happy, as I survived this great match.”

 

Survived…and advanced.

 

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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