2019 Madrid Masters Semi-Finals: Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem, Preview and Prediction
The two have faced each other seven times in the past, with the Serb winning five of those matches. On clay, they have met four times, with the series evenly split. It is important to note here that it is Thiem who has won their last two matches, both on clay, in the 2017 French Open quarterfinals and at last year’s Monte-Carlo Masters.
Clay happens to be Thiem’s favourite surface and he is widely considered the heir apparent to Nadal. He is also coming off a morale-boosting victory over Roger Federer in what was a classic three-set tussle in the quarterfinals.
Thiem got off to a rather slow start, losing his opening service game, but he slowly began to find his rhythm. He failed to make inroads into Federer’s service games though and lost the first set.
But he showed tremendous fortitude and skill to match the Swiss maestro shot for shot in the second set, eventually edging a marathon tie-break 13-11. He then broke Federer twice in the third set to seal another impressive victory against a member of the big three.
The Austrian certainly has the ability to add another big three scalp to his list and will look to get the better of Djokovic in the semifinals.
Djokovic has strangely gone off the boil since winning the Australian Open, but what may work against Thiem is the fact that he had a grueling two-hour-plus encounter today while his semi-final opponent did not even have to set foot on court, with Cilic retiring before the match owing to food poisoning.
With less than 24 hours between his quarters and semifinal matches, Thiem fitness will be put to the test. This may tilt the scales in favour of the Serbian.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in Three SetsPublished 11 May 2019, 00:50 IST