Thiem Topples Murray in Barcelona Open Semifinals

by John on April 29, 2017

Austrian gunslinger Dominic Thiem bagged his first win over a World No. 1 Saturday afternoon, defeating Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open. The victory halted Thiem’s string of four straight losses against World No. 1s. The 23-year-old has beaten Roger Federer twice and Rafael Nadal once, but not when they were ranked No. 1. Thiem improved to 1-2 versus Murray and is now 10-1 on clay this season. The hard-hitting Austrian had Murray on his back foot most of the match, firing bullets off both wings and never backing down from his aggressive play. Thiem hit 41 winners, including 25 off his forehand side and 10 on his backhand, along with six aces. He had 19 unforced errors. “It’s the first win [over a World No. 1], so it’s really something special,” Thiem said. “But it’s also the first win over a Top 10 guy this season. There are many positive things to take from today’s match. For me personally, it’s the best victory this year so far. I went down in the third set when he broke me in the first game. But the way I came back mentally was a huge step forward today.” Thiem came out blazing away, breaking in the first and fifth games to lead 4-1. Murray broke back for 4-2, but Thiem immediately answered for a two-break edge and then served it out. Down a set, Murray needed five deuces and a break point save to start the second set, but rolled after that. The Scot captured the only break of the set in the eighth game and leveled the match at a set apiece. Murray kept the momentum going, albeit short-lived, with a break to open the deciding set. Thiem returned the favor in the very next game for 1-1. The two would trade breaks once again in the sixth and seventh games, before Murray, serving at 4-5, would succumb on a perfect lob by Thiem on the first match point, ending two hours and 15 minutes of high drama. “In the first set, I didn’t have many chances, but I started to play better in the second,” Murray said. “It was quite windy out there and difficult to get into a rhythm. He started to hit the ball pretty hard and was pushing me back. When the conditions are like that, it’s important to be the one dictating the points. I started to do a better job of that, but in that last game I missed a couple shots I shouldn’t have.” Thiem saved four of eight break points, Murray four of 10. Murray hit 19 winners, and committed 30 unforced errors. Thiem plays Nadal in tomorrow’s final.

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