From Setback to Semi-finals: Dominic Thiem’s Surprising U-Turn in the Generali Open

Thiem in action: Striking the ball with precision at the Generali Open.

Former world no. 3, Dominic Thiem has emerged from a rough start in the Generali Open, fighting his way into the semi-finals. It’s a scene that’s growing familiar – Thiem rallying from a set behind, just as he had done in the preceding match. His opponent this time was Arthur Rinderknech from France, who gave a good account of himself but ultimately succumbed to Thiem’s resilience, with the match ending 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Austrian’s favor.

“It was another great, great night here. The first game was horrible but from then on it was really good against an opponent who is playing great tennis at the moment,” said Thiem.

Indeed, Thiem’s performance in the Generali Open signifies a glimmer of hope for the former world no. 3, as he stands one win away from reaching his first final since the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals – a hiatus stretching almost three years.

Thiem’s Performance at a Glance

With the opening serve conceded to Rinderknech, Thiem made an unpromising start. However, the rest of the match proved that Thiem didn’t just recover – he thrived. After the initial setback, he didn’t face a single break point. A comparative analysis of the match’s serve statistics is presented below:

Double Faults35
1st Serve %63%58%
1st Serve Points Won79% (41/52)76% (38/50)
2nd Serve Points Won58% (18/31)56% (20/36)
Break Points Faced50% (1/2)80% (8/10)
1st Serve Return Points Won24% (12/50)21% (11/52)
2nd Serve Return Points Won44% (16/36)42% (13/31)
Break Points Converted20% (2/10)50% (1/2)
Consecutive Points Won87
Service Points Won71% (59/83)67% (58/86)
Return Points Won33% (28/86)29% (24/83)
Total Points Won51% (87/169)49% (82/169)
Consecutive Games Won32
Service Games Won93% (14/15)86% (12/14)
Return Games Won14% (2/14)7% (1/15)
Total Games Won55% (16/29)45% (13/29)

“It’s my first semi-final of the year and I couldn’t have chosen a better place. Everything is coming together here,” Thiem added.

Looking Ahead

Thiem is visibly gaining confidence, especially from the backcourt, and his serve has been impressive, winning 79% of first-serve points. But he acknowledged the need for improving his break point conversion ratio, after managing to convert just two out of ten opportunities against Rinderknech.

Thiem’s 2023 Season: A Quick Recap

Thiem’s 2023 season has been, in a word, turbulent. The Austrian lost nine out of his first ten matches, leading to his current ranking of no. 116 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He had a slightly better run during the clay swing, securing a 6-5 win-loss record through Roland Garros, but didn’t manage to bag any wins during the grass swing. A notable event was his hard-fought loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Wimbledon first round, culminating in a dramatic fifth-set tie-break.

On the backdrop of a wrist injury in June 2021 that kept him out of the court for nine months, Thiem is looking forward to clinching his first title since his victory at the US Open in 2020 – his only major win till date.

Next Opponent in Sight

In the semi-final, Thiem is slated to face Serbian player Laslo Djere, who managed to overcome Argentine Pedro Cachin with a straight-set win of 6-4, 6-2. Djere, the fifth seed, is also in an impressive form, having reached the final of the ATP 500 in Hamburg the previous week.

The top-seeded Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry also made headlines, coming back from a set down to defeat Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4, and is scheduled to meet his countryman Sebastian Baez in the quarter-finals.

A Glimpse at Thiem’s Opponent: Arthur Rinderknech

Arthur Rinderknech, the player on the receiving end of Thiem’s determined comeback, also had his share of recent success. Coming to the Generali Open, Rinderknech was high on confidence, having claimed the Zug Challenger title in Switzerland just the week before. His performance against Thiem, despite the loss, marked him as a player to watch in the future tournaments.

Arthur Rinderknech succumbs to Dominic Thiem (3-6, 6-4, 6-4) in the quarter-finals at ATP Kitzbuhel.

Final Thoughts

Thiem’s journey in the Generali Open is a testament to his unyielding determination. Despite the ups and downs of recent years, Thiem’s persistence has remained unshaken, and his performance is a heartening reminder that it’s never too late to turn things around.

Whether he will rise to the occasion and reclaim his former glory or not is a question that will be answered in the upcoming semi-final. Regardless, his resilience is truly a testament to the spirit of the sport. As Thiem steps onto the court for his next match, his fans worldwide will be cheering him on, eager to witness the next chapter in his comeback story.

Tennis Expert Andrew Huggard
reviewed by: Andrew Huggard (Tennis Expert)

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