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Dominic Thiem Back on Track at Madrid ATP Tennis • Into to Quarters • Medevedev Crashes Out

Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their Mutua Madrid Open round of 16 match at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 05 May 2021. EPA-EFE/CHEMA MOYA

By Ricky Dimon

It’s starting to look like Dominic Thiem will be back at legitimate contender status in time for the French Open.

And maybe even a lot sooner than that.

Thiem, who had played only two tournaments since the Australian Open–winning just one match–prior to this week, advanced to the Mutua Madrid Open quarterfinals with a 7-6(7), 6-4 victory over Alex de Minaur on Thursday. Having previously defeated Marcos Giron was 6-1, 6-3, the Austrian is perfect through four sets at his comeback tournament.

It was not as easy for Thiem as it had been against Giron, but at the same it was more impressive with a tougher opponent on the other side of the net. The world No. 4 fought off a set point at 6-7 in the tiebreaker and faced five break points in the second–saving four. Thiem’s second and third breaks of the day in the third and seventh games of set two allowed him to close out the match after one hour and 51 minutes.

Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Alex de Minaur of Australia during their Mutua Madrid Open round of 16 match at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, 05 May 2021. EPA-EFE/CHEMA MOYA

“There were many long rallies, [which is] exactly what I need right now,” Thiem explained. “I am very, very happy again with my performance…. It was nice. I love the conditions, the court and the tournament. I feel way better than expected. In some points and some rallies, I still feel the lack of matches; I am a little bit more out of breath, I am a little bit too tight in some shots and some strokes.

“Everything has to be a little more relaxed again to be in the match mode. I lost a little bit of intensity after winning that close first set. I have to get back in a rhythm, but the more matches I play against these top guys, the quicker I will get back in the match rhythm I need.”

De Minaur did well to win two matches on his favorite surface, beating Jaume Munar and Lloyd Harris, but he did not quite have enough for Thiem. The 24th-ranked Aussie is now 0-4 in the head-to-head series and 1-11 in total sets.

Following Thursday’s match, de Minaur posted on Instagram: “Not to be today!! Another positive week here and making strides in the right direction!! Too good @domithiem”.

Thiem now awaits the winner of a third-round showdown between Andrey Rublev and John Isner.

The 2020 U.S. Open champion is joined in the last eight by Cristian Garin and Alexander Bublik. Daniil Medevedev’s clay-court success was short-lived, as he went down to Garin in three sets. Bublik upset Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev in straights.

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