Thiem overcomes Zverev at Roland Garros, will face Granollers instead of Nadal

A huge opportunity awaited Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros on Saturday–and not just because they found themselves in the third round of a Grand Slam. With projected fourth-round adversary Rafael Nadal having pulled out because of a wrist injury less than 24 hours earlier, that section of the bracket had suddenly burst wide open. In a flash, a possible quarterfinal and even semifinal spot presented itself on a silver platter to the remaining contestants in Nadal’s quarter.

It was Thiem who took the first step toward benefiting from such a shocking development, as the Austrian defeated Zverev 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 after almost three hours.
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Perhaps weighed down by ever-increasing expectations and by the pressure of facing a good friend on the other side of the net, Thiem came out slow and squandered all six of his break-point chances before losing a first set that lasted one hour and one minute.

“I think I had six break points (at 5-5) and five out of six break points he served a really good first serve, so I couldn’t do anything once I was in the rally,” the 13th seed commented. “I lost it, but I didn’t do any bad mistakes in this game, so it was fine for me. I knew that the [match was going to be long and] tough, because we are both fresh, so it was not a big trauma to lose that first set.”

It certainly wasn’t. Thiem bounced back immediately to take control of the proceedings starting early in set two. The 22-year-old’s second break gave him a 4-2 advantage and at that point he was off to the races. In the third and fourth, Thiem never donated serve and saved all seven of the break points he faced. A loved hold at 5-3 in the fourth closed things out in style.

“I thought it was quite tight actually the whole match,” Zverev explained. “He used his chances much better than me. I had a lot of break points…. The score at the end was not as tight as I think the match was.”
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Instead of running into Nadal, Thiem will go up against Marcel Granollers on Monday. But the world No. 15 said he did not think about that dynamic while on the court. Zverev, in fact, asked during his press conference whom Thiem was playing next. The German insisted that he never looks ahead in draws–especially not at Grand Slams.

“Oh, Granollers,” Zverev started. “I think he will most likely beat Granollers, to be honest.”

“Of course I heard it, but I tried not to focus on that,” Thiem said of Nadal’s exit. “I [managed to do it], because I knew it [was] gonna be a really, really hard match today–which it was. So I didn’t think about it at all. Just wish Rafa all the best.”
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Thiem wins

4 Comments on Thiem overcomes Zverev at Roland Garros, will face Granollers instead of Nadal

  1. Thiem has an opportunity with rafa’s withdrawal. I did not think he was ready to do anything at a slam and was confident that Rafa would have beaten him. But now this part of the draw has opened up. So he does have the chance to advance in the draw.

    I think Thiem can beat Granollers.

  2. Breznick, who ties with Lendl for inscrutably, was smiling from ear to ear and on his feet cheering when Thiem won.

    It’s unlikely – but not out of the question – his two charges could face each other in the QFs 🙂

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