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Thiem beats Paul to book matchup with Medvedev, Fritz falls in Vienna

As the crowd favorite who is making his way back from a serious wrist injury, Dominic Thiem could have used a favorable draw at the Erste Bank Open.

It’s safe to say he didn’t get one.

Thiem had to go up against an in-form Tommy Paul in the first round and his reward for winning an incredible match is a date with none other than No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev. The good news for Thiem is that he at least has a full day off in between matches, as he outlasted Paul on Tuesday evening and will face Medvedev on Thursday.

Even better news for Thiem is that he is starting to look like his former self. The Austrian is coming off back-to-back semifinal showings in Gijon and Antwerp and he delivered an awesome performance in front of the home fans to defeat Paul 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(6). Thiem saved two match points at 4-6 and 5-6 in the third-set tiebreaker, winning the last four points of the thrilling contest.

“That’s a big win, especially after two weeks to back it up in this tournament,” the 28-year-old assured. “The players who are competing are like only top 30, top 40. As I said before the tournament, a victory against Tommy Paul would be unbelievable for me; it would be great stuff. And here I am. I won the match, so (I’m) super, super happy.”

It has been a tough week for Americans, as Taylor Fritz also suffered a hard-fought loss. As second-round action kicked off on Wednesday, Fritz fell to Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. The world No. 10 is ninth in the race to the Nitto ATP Finals and will now need a huge result next week in Paris–at least the semifinals–to have a chance of qualifying.

Thursday’s schedule includes Medvedev vs. Thiem, Andrey Rublev vs. Grigor Dimitrov, and Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Borna Coric.

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