Of the three ATP events happening this week, the Generali Open Kitzbuhel is the only event that has its final on Saturday, instead of the usual Sunday. The event’s winding down a day earlier has by no means proved to be a dampener in the quality of the match-ups. This includes the final featuring the top-seeded Dominic Thiem against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Who will take home the Kitzbuhel crown? Here are our thoughts.
Kitzbuhel Final Prediction
Dominic Thiem vs Albert Ramos Vinolas
Thiem will take on the Spaniard in the last match of the tournament. The Austrian is seeking to end a 26-year-old wait for the tournament to have a native, home champion. This is Thiem’s fourth final in 2019, his third on clay – after Barcelona (def. Daniil Medvedev) and Roland Garros (lost to Rafael Nadal). Earlier, in March, he won his first non-clay Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (def. Roger Federer).
Against the Spaniard, Thiem is playing someone who has picked some great form across the last three events. So much so that the 31-year-old Ramos-Vinolas is on a nine-match winning streak since his loss in the Swedish Open semifinal two weeks ago. Since then, he also won his second career title in Gstaad (def. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe). Winning his third ATP singles title here on Saturday would also put the southpaw just outside the top-50 of the ATP rankings, in the 52nd place, sweetening the potential title-run further.
In his semifinal win against Casper Ruud, Ramos-Vinolas trailed the Norwegian 3-5 in the first set, with the latter serving for the set in the ninth game. In Thiem’s case, the Austrian did not have it easy against the 24-year-old Lorenzo Sonego who pushed him to the brink in their rain-marred match.
Thiem and Ramos-Vinolas have faced each other twice before, though neither of those two encounters was in 2019. The first time they played each other – in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Chengdu Open – the Spaniard took the win. The following year, in 2017, the two faced each other in the semi-finals of the Rio Open with Thiem avenging his loss. The two years separating their meetings have seen both players traverse different side of tennis’ spectrum. While Thiem has been coasting on highs, Ramos-Vinolas has had to start afresh, needing to go back to the ATP Challenger Tour with injury keeping him out of action for a long time.
Despite his recent results’ trend, Ramos-Vinolas does not have any pressure holding him back. The same cannot be said for Thiem, who has expectations piled high on him. Who will make the most of Saturday’s final? It’s an eventuality worth waiting for.
Prediction: Thiem in 2
Main Photo from Getty