Roland Garros 2022: Dominic Thiem Falls in 11th Consecutive Defeat

Dominic Thiem 2020 French Open Round 1
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It was only 20 months ago that Dominic Thiem won a maiden Grand Slam at the US Open, after previously reaching three finals (two of them at Roland Garros), but it’d be an understatement to say things have gone south since. The Austrian came into Paris on the back of ten consecutive defeats dating back to May of 2021. Despite a theoretically easy draw against #87 Hugo Delien, he got routined in Round 1 as well.

Thiem won only nine games and didn’t create a single break point all match. In fact, he only won 20 return points in three sets. Many of his returns, even off weaker serves, failed to even land inside the court. Thiem just looked lifeless out there, not even a shadow of the player who once reached World #3. A player who once looked almost unbeatable against non-Rafael Nadal players on this court was just easily dismissed by an Hugo Delien, who didn’t even need to do anything particularly special out there.

Hugo Dellien def. Dominic Thiem

To put into perspective just how disastrous this match was for Thiem, Delien won 74.7% of his service points. That’s the highest % of service points Dellien has ever won in a match, at ATP or Challenger level. Thiem had never won such a low % of return points in a match himself, not even against the likes of John Isner, Ivo Karlovic, or Reilly Opelka. This is clearly a low point in Thiem’s attempt to return to the top, one that will force the Austrian into some real introspection.

At 28 years of age, Thiem still has time to return to a high level. But it’s increasingly starting to look as if his days as a top player might be behind him. It will be up to Thiem to show he has what it takes to fight back and return to some semblance of his previous level. His next tournament will be the Perugia Challenger. It’s not every day you see a former Slam champion play a Challenger, but this seems to be an intelligent decision; at this point, Thiem needs to win a match to gain some confidence, he needs to get some real match practice. He needs to grind his way back. It’s a great sign for Thiem’s future that he’s willing to humble himself and play Challengers for a while. Sometimes you need to take a step back so you can take two steps forward.

Main Photo from Getty.