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Pedro Cachin defeats Dominic Thiem in Opening Round Thriller

Pedro Cachin BNP Paribas Open-Day 5 Indian Wells

In one of the better outside court matchups of the French Open first round, the Argentine Pedro Cachin defeated 2018 and 2019 French Open finalist Dominic Thiem. In their second meeting after a Challenger tour match, Cachin won 6-3 6-2 6-7(1) 4-6 6-2. Both players battled to a capacity crowd on the minuscule Court 6, with a heavily pro-Thiem crowd.

Pedro Cachin was ranked merely #318 in the world when Dominic Thiem made his first Grand Slam final at the 2018 French Open. They’re both quite even now.

Pedro Cachin def. Dominic Thiem

How It Happened

In only the second game, Cachin broke Thiem’s serve after two consecutive unforced errors from the Austrian. Those errors were two of his 84 unforced errors in the match. Thiem broke back with a forehand winner and leveled the set at 3-3, yet Cachin broke serve again to close out the first set.

Cachin’s consistent tennis continued throughout the second set, as he broke serve. Thiem’s backhand, traditionally his weakest shot as of late, broke down repeatedly throughout the second set. Cachin secured the double break to lead 6-3 6-2.

The third set seemed to go into Thiem’s favor early on, as he broke serve. However, after a multiple deuce game at 4-2, Cachin broke back. It seemed as though Cachin would close the match out in three sets, especially when he got the break at 6-5 to serve out the match. However, Thiem’s play improved, hitting a great forehand winner to break back.

Thiem then cruised in the tiebreak, winning it 7-1. The former finalist became more aggressive and consistent, hitting 15 winners to Cachin’s four. Similarly, Cachin’s consistency wore off, as he hit 20 unforced errors. The Argentine’s second serve was also a liability, something that continued into the fourth set.

With the crowd firmly behind the Austrian, Thiem took the fourth set 6-4. It seemed easy at first, yet Thiem nearly blew a 5-1 lead.

The fifth set demonstrated Thiem’s unfortunate collapse of form. Cachin’s serving improved, cruising through his service games and winning 80% of points off his first serve. At 1-0 in the fifth for the Argentine, Thiem blew a lead in the game with a double fault, then hit three disastrous unforced errors to get broken.

Quite simply, Thiem couldn’t put a ball in the court towards the end. In a quick 6-2 set, the Austrian hit 18 unforced errors and noticeably lost pace on his serve. Usually a weapon, his serve and backhand are hardly what they once were.

Post Match Thoughts

Unfortunately, Thiem’s form is hardly what it was in general. Some of his last matches have been a positive step forward, especially Thiem’s near upset of Stefanos Tsitsipas in Madrid. This match, however, was a step back. Thiem’s recent wrist injury certainly plays a part in this downfall, yet there’s certainly a lack of confidence involved; this is definitely the case as new younger tennis players have made players like Thiem and Zverev feel forgotten. 

Everyone is hoping for a comeback for Dominic Thiem, yet his peak level will most likely never be seen again. However, the Austrian has undoubtedly had a great career. 2017-2020 were years in which a multitude of young players failed to attain the mentality to take out the Big 3, yet Dominic Thiem was an exception. He’s defeated Djokovic and Nadal at multiple Majors, despite only winning one Grand Slam at the 2020 US Open. All of these matches were enthralling, featuring Thiem’s powerful backhands and winning mentality.

If he gets his “winning mentality” back, he can surely make it back into the Top 30. However, it seems unlikely that such will happen at this rate. Fans should all appreciate Thiem’s fight and grit, something that makes him continuously loved on tour as was the case Monday.

Pedro Cachin’s victory was his third five-set victory at a Major. The Argentine seemingly is moving towards his prime, yet has a tough match against 15th seed Borna Coric up next.

Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


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