Thiem Takes Title in Barcelona
Dominic Thiem completed a week of stunning tennis by defeating Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-0 in the Barcelona Open final. Thiem also beat Rafael Nadal on clay for the fourth consecutive year this week, cruising past the 11-time Barcelona champion in straight sets in the semi-finals.
Thiem started slowly, going 3-0 down to a confident Medvedev, who leads the tour for the most match wins this year, with 25 wins. However perhaps the strain of having played and won so many matches may be slowly catching up with Medvedev, who was pegged back to 3-3 and later had to have treatment on his right shoulder at 5-4 down. The shot that made the difference after the early stages was Thiem’s backhand slice, which he was missing frequently at the start of the match but started to use to good effect later on. The Austrian then served out the set and did not look back, continuing to play with wonderful variety as he stormed the second set 6-0 to take his 13th ATP title.
“Winning this means a lot to me because it’s such a traditional and special tournament. Only great players have won here. Rafa has won it 11 times and it means a lot that [Thomas] Muster won it twice. It’s a big moment for me,“ said Thiem. “A title like this always gives you a lot of confidence, so I’ll be in a good mood going into Madrid. But the special thing about tennis is that I’ll start from zero in Madrid.”
Thiem’s performance this week marks him as a serious contender for Roland Garros. Although Thiem has had success in the clay court swing and been pegged back by Nadal in previous years, Thiem looks to be the stronger of the two this year, having been the first to claim a clay court title. The Austrian showed he can win clutch matches at big tournaments when he beat Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells, so he certainly wouldn’t be phased by any big match against a top opponent at the French Open.
Although he did not come away with the title, this week has been full of positives for Medvedev. Before this year, Medvedev’s had only won two matches on clay in his whole career but has managed to win 8 matches in just two tournaments this year, showing just how much he has developed as a player over the last 12 months. The Russian also claimed his fourth victory over players ranked inside the top 10 and is currently 6th in the Race To London. With this level of consistency, it is not unthinkable that we could see Medvedev at the O2 this November.
Written by Emre Saridogan