Dominic Thiem Survives Five-set Thriller Against Nick Kyrgios

Dominic Thiem has won against Nick Kyrgios from two sets to love down, 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4. In what is likely the match of the tournament so far, Thiem survived a barrage of aces, swearing, trick shots, net-cords, and racket smashes from his opponent. Kyrgios was not the only adversity he faced though–Thiem also had to face a riotous crowd that cheered and jeered their way through the match. we take a look at how the drama unfolded.

Dominic Thiem vs Nick Kyrgios

The story of the match

Thiem started slowly in the first set, landing under 50% of his first serves and failing to find rhythm on his groundstrokes. He went down an early break and it was enough for Kyrgios to confidently serve out the set.

Things were more even in the second set as Thiem started to find his range. Kyrgios moved ahead in the second set though after a net-cord fell his way, paving the way for him to serve it out. At 40-0 up, and with Thiem camped five meters behind the baseline, Kyrgios hit an underarm serve ace much to the delight of the rapturous crowd. Thiem remained unfazed.

Down 15-40 and two sets to love, Thiem looked to be packing his bags. Ever since his first Grand Slam victory at last year’s US Open, however, Thiem 2.0 has set foot on the court. He was not ready to give up just yet, playing solid tennis to erase the break points. He held and went on to break the Kyrgios serve, invoking the subtlest of reactions in a muted fist pump.

As the match went to a fourth set, Thiem did well to continue to stay calm and composed. The crowd was screaming mid-rally, which Kyrgios complained about constantly. The Aussie hit various peaks and troughs between his complaints, but Thiem rode out the storm to equal at four games apiece. With Kyrgios serving at his advantage, the match reached its turning point. Kyrgios followed up his serve with a between-the-legs volley that went horrifically wrong. Another missed serve and volley and a passing shot on break point allowed Thiem to serve for the set. As they sat down for the change of ends, Kyrgios received his second code violation for slamming a ball out of the stadium, prompting a point penalty. Thiem, therefore, started at 15-0 the following game and narrowly served out the set.

Kyrgios’ focus continued to waver in the fifth set, with his serve and volleying earning him mixed results. Thiem was awarded a point at 40-0 in one of his service games due to a hindrance caused by Kyrgios shouting “It’s in!” before the ball had landed. Thiem rose above it all to step up another level, ripping a backhand winner down the line on match point.

The match was absolute chaos from start to finish. For Thiem, to play at such a consistently high-level without being distracted is an incredible achievement. For Kyrgios, his discipline will come into question as immaturity cost him crucial points throughout the match.

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The Mindset of a Champion

This is now the fourth time in Thiem’s career that he has come back from two sets to love down. His most recent comeback was only last September when he came back from two sets down to defeat Alexander Zverev in the final of the US Open. He attributes the belief he carried throughout the match to this career-defining victory.

Speaking to Jim Courier in the on-court interview, Thiem mused: “Since the US Open, impossible is nothing… Giving up is never an option.”

To see Thiem remaining level-headed amidst some of the most chaotic scenes witnessed in professional tennis is no surprise. Since the US Open, Thiem’s on-court belief has been almost Nadal-like. He is gaining a reputation for consistently bringing his A-game and never giving up.

Rather than feeling exhausted, Thiem has reached a level of physical fitness and belief that will allow him to remain fresh and draw on the experience of this win. Thiem next plays Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round Sunday in what could be another epic match. If Dominic Thiem plays at this level and continues to ooze self-confidence, however, expect the Austrian to come through in straight sets.

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