Dominic Thiem overcame the disappointment of his season-opening loss on Saturday against Borna Coric to bounce back and clinch a tie win for Austria on Monday evening in Sydney at the ATP Cup.
The World No. 4 defeated good friend Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6(3) to give Austria an insurmountable 2-0 lead against Argentina, with doubles still to play. Thiem now leads Schwartzman 6-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, with five of those victories coming in straight sets.
"I'm really happy with the improvement from Saturday to today. [I had a] good practice session yesterday where I was working on the things which were not that great on Saturday, and today was really I think a match on a high level. Still, here and there some mistakes, which maybe didn't happen towards the end of last year, but in general it was a great match. I think [it was] also enjoyable for the crowd. Many great rallies. I'm very happy."
It was a must-win tie for Austria, who lost to Croatia on Saturday. Austria and Argentina both now hold 1-1 records heading into the final round of Group E matches on Wednesday. Only one team from the group is guaranteed to partake in the Final Eight, which begins Thursday in Sydney. Croatia leads the way with a 2-0 mark.
Thiem came out of the gate focussed, giving few errors away while Schwartzman was still finding his rhythm. The Argentine launched a neutral backhand long to give Thiem the break at 1-1, and that lapse was all the 16-time ATP Tour titlist needed to cruise through the opener. He did not face a break point in the first set.
But with a raucous crowd pushing Schwartzman with chants of “Ole! Ole, Ole, Ole! Ole! Ole!”, the Argentine dug his sneakers into the hard court and battled even harder. There were four straight service breaks to begin the second set, with chants getting louder and louder. Thiem had too much firepower in the end though, with a point in the tie-break — in which Schwartzman ran every which way to track down ball after ball until Thiem finally put a winner away — serving as a good representation of the match.
Highlights: Thiem Holds Off Schwartzman