Rennes had a stacked draw to begin with, full of excellent players – many of which were in contention to go all the way this week. So, it’s not all that surprising that we’ve ended up with such an exiting final. Not many would argue that a Thiem vs Humbert final would be fit for an ATP final, given the immense talent both players possess. With such an intriguing showdown ahead, we will be offering up our prediction on this match.
Rennes Challenger Final Prediction
Dominic Thiem vs Ugo Humbert
Head-to-head: First meeting
It’s been a tough road back for Dominic Thiem. His severe wrist injury sustained in Mallorca last year halted what was already a tricky time for him, where he suffered physically and mentally after winning the US Open in 2020. The man who was by far and away the biggest threat to the big 3 since Andy Murray is still ways off his best, but thankfully, things are getting better and better.
I’ve been impressed with Thiem’s level this week. His first round exit to Montreal champion, Pablo Carreno Busta, in New York was hardly surprising. The Austrian played at a decent level, but showed there’s still lots in his game that isn’t where it should be. It seemed right for him to enter another Challenger tournament as he needs consistent matches against players that won’t expose his current weaknesses. It’s clearly been the right decision, too. He’s had some challenging moments so far, but has come through very well against some quality opposition.
Gilles Simon, Ryan Peniston, Adrian Andreev and top seed Hugo Gaston were all in his path and he’s looked assured and composed throughout. It’s positive to see his level returning, and we’ve seen some magical moments from him too.
Ugo Humbert is certainly not where we all expected him to be right now. The phenomenally talented Frenchman has dipped in form drastically over the last year, and he’s got work to do in order to return to the top of the men’s game. However, he’s had a very strong week here, where he’s yet to drop a set. Though he’s had an easier draw than Thiem, it’s been good to see Humber get a good string of results together.
This match-up will be very interesting. Despite facing some very strong players, Thiem is yet to face a big hitter. He said earlier in the week he’s enjoyed the matches so far as his opponents tend to rally a lot, and this gave him a good consistent platform grow into rallies before unleashing. Humbert is very different to anyone he’s faced so far. He has an enormous serve and goes for his shots. The Frenchman’s issue is very dependent on where his shots land, as he tends to spray a lot of wild errors. He’ll need a good day if he’s to win this title.
Thiem is still lacking the consistent firepower that made him such a great player, but he still hits the ball far harder than most players on the Challenger circuit. His win over Gaston was also excellent, given how much trouble the drop-shotting Frenchman has given him in their previous meetings. Where the Austrian may struggle is how little rhythm he’ll get from Humbert. The Frenchman could make three unforced errors to go down 0-40, and then whack down three or four aces to save him. Thiem will need to stay ready and focused for moments like this.
Humbert can’t really afford to miss much, with Thiem’s consistency getting better by each match. If Ugo having one of his good days and Thiem can’t keep up with the pace, he should win. If he’s missing a lot and Thiem is in the zone, then the 2020 US Open champion will reign supreme. It will be tight and no doubt exciting, but I’ll give the slight edge to Thiem as he has more of a Plan B than Humbert.
Prediction: Thiem in 3