Thiem downs Mon­fils to keep Tour Fi­nals hopes alive

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Aus­tria’s Do­minic Thiem kept alive his hopes of reach­ing the semi-fi­nals of the ATP Tour Fi­nals with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 vic­tory over Gael Mon­fils yes­ter­day.

Thiem lost his open­ing group stage match against No­vak Djokovic, but the Tour Fi­nals debu­tant could still make the last four af­ter see­ing off flam­boy­ant French­man Mon­fils at Lon­don’s O2 Arena.

The 23-year-old will need to de­feat Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist Mi­los Raonic in his last group match on Thurs­day to reach the semi-fi­nals.

Mon­fils is cer­tain to be elim­i­nated af­ter los­ing his first two matches at the pres­ti­gious sea­son-end­ing event.

“It was a very close match but luck­ily he helped me in the last game. Maybe I was the lucky one to­day,”Thiem said.

“I am very happy there’s still a chance for me to reach the semi-fi­nals, but Mi­los Raonic is an amaz­ing op­po­nent.

“I can’t wait to get back out here in this amaz­ing arena.”

Thiem is re­garded as an emerg­ing star af­ter a break­through sea­son and the Aus­trian had shown no signs of be­ing in­tim­i­dated by the Tour Fi­nals stage when he took a set off de­fend­ing cham­pion Djokovic. His gutsy ef­fort and ag­gres­sive stroke-play also earned a fa­mous fan in Man­ches­ter United man­ager Jose Mour­inho, who met Thiem af­ter the match and gave him an au­to­graph.

Thiem should garner plenty more back­ers around the world if he con­tin­ues to de­velop at his cur­rent rapid pace.

Thiem was too pow­er­ful for the er­ror­prone Mon­fils in the first set, se­cur­ing the only break in the sixth game and us­ing his thud­ding serve to stay ahead.

But, af­ter seem­ing to be ham­pered by in­jury in the first set, Mon­fils sud­denly found his rhythm in a one-sided sec­ond set, while Thiem lost his way.

Mon­fils broke twice in the first four games with some eye-catch­ing ground­strokes, in­clud­ing a ma­jes­tic win­ner down the line from an im­prob­a­ble po­si­tion wide be­hind the base­line.

Thiem folded in sim­i­lar fash­ion against Djokovic, but he was far more fo­cused in the fi­nal set against Mon­fils and clinched the win with a break in the ninth game af­ter a string of dou­ble faults from the French­man.

Raonic faces Djokovic in the other group match later. —AFP


LON­DON: Aus­tria’s Do­minic Thiem re­turns against France’s Gael Mon­fils dur­ing their round robin stage men’s sin­gles match on day three of the ATP World Tour Fi­nals ten­nis tour­na­ment in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

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