APRIL 22 - MAY 5, 2024

A win that counts double

In Madrid, Dominic Thiem is searching for the spark he needs to take him back to the top. The Austrian player is looking to rediscover the kind of form that took him to the US Open title in 2021 and the final in the Caja Mágica in 2017 and 2018, when he lost out to Rafa Nadal and Alexander Zverev, respectively. It is worth noting that he has reached the semi-finals in four of his five appearances in the Mutua Madrid Open; no mean feat.

A wrist injury stopped him in his tracks just six months after he claimed his first major. Almost two years have passed since then, and the Austrian is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, having reached the quarter-finals in Munich and Estoril.

Every win is a step forward in his recovery and the one he took today in Madrid, when he beat Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-1, was worth double. “It’s time to work and recover my prestige, although I’m not playing my best at the moment, I was very difficult to beat on clay and I feel like I’m getting better and better. I’m getting back to my best, the next round is a challenge to find out where I am”.

In the first round he played Kyle Edmund, a Grand Slam semi-finalist who, despite not being at his best, knows what it is to win a quarter-final here in Madrid. “It wasn’t easy, the first match on centre court. I’ve known Edmund since we were juniors, he’s a very tough opponent. There was a key moment in the first set when I saved two break points and from there I managed to loosen up a bit and play increasingly better”, explained the Austrian.

The Briton was looking to get out of a rut after seven straight defeats on tour and he was ready for a fight when he took to the court in search of his A-game. Both players were serving well, and Edmund earned himself two break points that a solid-looking Thiem managed to save with some pure serves followed by winning forehands. The key moment in the set came in game nine, when Dominic cranked up his forehand and finally found the break that gave him the lead. Minutes later, the Austrian held his serve and had claimed the first set 6-4. Half the work was done. The ex-world number three’s confidence grew as he freed up his forehand. The Austrian stepped things up in the third game of the set, breaking Edmund’s serve, compounding the Briton’s recent struggles to the point that he was unable to recover and eventually lost the set 6-1.

Dominic has a special relationship with Madrid and with the Manolo Santana centre court and today he proved it has not waned. “I love that court, in terms of results, it’s the best Masters 1000 of my career, I have great memories, I’ve played great matches here and that also helped me…”

Thiem is now preparing for his second-round clash with Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas: “I can’t wait for the match, Stefanos is an unbelievable player, a big challenge. I love watching his matches, he has a very elegant game, we’ve had some great matches together and if I’m not mistaken, we haven’t played on clay for five years…” Thiem will be seeking his sixth win over the Greek, it could provide him with that spark he has been searching for…