No. 10 Match of the Year: Thiem vs. Dimitrov, Madrid Masters

The Grandstand has compiled its list of the Top 10 Matches of the Year for 2017. Matches were ranked from a combination of Top 10 lists made by the Grandstand’s Ricky Dimon, Joey Hanf of Cliff Drysdale Tennis, voting at MensTennisForums, and Twitter user Ben Conti.

No. 10: Dominic Thiem d. Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(9), Madrid Masters third round

Five match points. That is how many chances Dimitrov had to get past Thiem and book a spot in the Madrid quarterfinals. But for Thiem, who lost more than his fair share of extremely competitive contests in 2017, it was his turn to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Austrian trailed by a set and 3-1 in the second, and also by a break in the third at 4-2. He continued to play from behind in the final-set tiebreaker, but there was no shortage of comebacks engineered by Thiem throughout this battle. Madrid’s No. 8 seed and eventual runner-up saved three straight match points starting from 6-3 down in the ‘breaker and he fought off two more at 6-7 and 8-9.


“I don’t always play [well] in the important points, but today yes,” Thiem assessed. “I saved five match points. I don’t know if I ever saved that many match points in one match, so it’s a really good feeling.”

On the other hand, it was bitter pill to swallow for Dimitrov. But the eventual Nitto ATP Finals champion, who finished the year at No. 3 in the world, played his part in an entertaining encounter that lasted two hours and 35 minutes. As the scored indicates, it could not have been any closer. Even in total points, Thiem finished with just one more than Dimitrov–112 to 111.

“I think it was a very good match from both of us,” Thiem reflected. “The tiebreak in the third set was amazing. It was 4-3 for him and I played two very good points. He made two unbelievable rallies. The tiebreak is always a little bit (of) luck, but I think it was a good match for both of us. That’s the bad thing about tennis; only one guy can win.”

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