Top seed Daniil Medvedev beat home hope Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-3 in the second round at the TP Vienna Open on Thursday in a match lasting nearly two hours. The 29-year-old Thiem, playing in front of his home crowd, could not match Medvedev’s firepower despite a valiant effort. But what were the keys to the Russian’s victory?
#1 Medvedev targeted Thiem’s backhand:
Medvedev directed a lot of traffic towards Thiem’s backhand wing in the early stages. He was continuously able to force Thiem wide in the backhand corner. The Austrian accordingly had to rely on his sliced backhand, rather than being able to hit his powerful down-the-line backhand.
Thiem also made the Russian’s job easier by committing a double fault down break point in the seventh game of the first set. Medvedev then held his serve to go 5-3 ahead and broke the Austrian again to win the set. Thiem tried to play the angles more frequently as the set progressed, but Medvedev’s outstanding lateral movement at the baseline and ability to retrieve balls allowed him stay in the rallies and frustrate Thiem.
#2 Medvedev’s movement reigned supreme in the second set:
Medvedev continued to move superbly in the second set and Thiem found it difficult to hit through him. Medvedev, at this point firmly in the ascendancy, broke in the third game and then held his serve to take a commanding 4-1 lead. The Russian then managed to maintain the lead for the remainder of the match to register an emphatic win. Thiem played backhand slices more frequently in the second set, but Medvedev countered that tactic by opting to play slices himself and tempt Thiem to go for big shots.
At his best, they might have come off, but as it was Thiem committed too many mistakes. The Austrian also rushed the net more often, but Medvedev managed to come up with a wonderful passing shot on more than one occasion. The Russian also hit his spots with his serve, drawing several short returns from Thiem which Medvedev was able to dispatch with relative ease.
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