Thiem humbled by ‘best victory’ against Murray
Austrian honoured to be able to face Nadal in the final
Dominic Thiem claimed his first win over world No 1 Andy Murray to book his place in the final of the Barcelona Open yesterday as he triumphed 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
The Austrian will face Rafael Nadal, who is looking for his 10th title in Barcelona, in today’s final after the Spaniard defeated Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4.
Murray squeezed past Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a threehour encounter on Friday and looked flat-footed as Thiem roared through the opening set with three breaks of serve in just over half an hour.
The Scot had to stave off another break point in a marathon opening game to the second set. But he held on and then jumped at his chance to break for 5-3 before serving out to take the match to a decider.
Thiem had to battle back from a break down in the third set, but constantly put pressure on Murray’s serve and broke the world No 1 another three times in the deciding set to seal his place in the final.
“It’s the first win [over a world No 1], so it’s really something special,” Thiem said.
“But it’s also the first win over a top-10 guy this season. There are many positive things to take from today’s match.”
It was not just the fact he had prevailed over Murray that pleased Thiem, but the manner of the success as well.
“For me personally, it’s the best victory this year so far,” the world No 9 said. “I went down in the third set when he broke me in the first game.
“But the way I came back mentally was a huge step forward today.”
On facing Nadal, who is looking to win a second successive tournament after prevailing in Monte Carlo last Sunday, Thiem said: “It would be a big honour to play the nine-time champion here tomorrow.
“To get two matches in a row against two of the best players ever is big for my game.”
Murray said he had struggled to adapt to the windy conditions in Barcelona and attributed some of his consistent play to that.
“In the first set, I didn’t have many chances, but I started to play better in the second,” the three-time major winner said.
“It was quite windy out there and difficult to get into a rhythm. He started to hit the ball pretty hard and was pushing me back.
“When the conditions are like that, it’s important to be the one dictating the points. I started to do a better job of that, but in that last game I missed a couple of shots I shouldn’t have.”
Nadal is yet to lose a set this week, and he continued his dominant form on clay against the world No 84 Zeballos.
The third seed did not have it all his own way though against his Argentine opponent, having to save three break points in the first set on his way to winning it 6-3 with a single break of serve.
A solitary break in the second set proved enough for Nadal to reach his fifth final in 2017 and he will today aim to win his 51st title on clay.
Dominic Thiem broke Andy Murray’s serve three times in the third set to seal his place in the final.