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A look-back at Dominic Thiem's Masters 1000 breakthrough at Indian Wells

  • Dominic Thiem beat five-time champion Roger Federer in the final of Indian Wells in 2019.
Modified 09 Mar 2020, 13:42 IST

Dominic Thiem.
Dominic Thiem.

Producing the best season of his career, Dominic Thiem made his Masters 1000 breakthrough on the hardcourts of Indian Wells in 2019 after beating five-time champion Roger Federer in a three-set final.

Regarded as a clay-court specialist for long owing his prowess on the slowest surface of the game, Thiem strutted his all-court credentials in their finest glory in 2019 by winning the biggest title of his career on a surface which was not clay.

By denying Federer a record sixth title at the tournament, Thiem became the 67th different player to lift a Masters 1000 title. On that note, let us have a look at the Austrian's best run at a Masters 1000 tournament.

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Making his sixth appearance at the tournament, Thiem took out Jordan Thompson of Australia, French veteran Gilles Simon, and the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in straight sets before a 'walkover' win over another Frenchman Gilles Simon took the Austrian to his first quarter-final at Indian Wells since a defeat to eventual finalist Stanislas Wawrinka in a third-set tiebreak in 2017.

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In his first Masters 1000 semi-final outside of clay, Thiem took the first set on a tiebreak against Milos Raonic before the big Canadian restored parity by taking the second set on another tiebreak. The Austrian soon reasserted his ascendancy in the third to reach his third career Masters 1000 final, having made the title round at 2017-18 Madrid.

The going got tough in the title match as Thiem conceded the opening set to five-time champion Federer in just over half an hour. To his credit though, the Austrian improved his level of play as Federer's hit a downward curve and soon the 2019 Indian Wells final was at one set apiece.

In a competitive deciding set, Thiem came under enormous scoreboard pressure, standing two points away from defeat as Federer arrived at 5-4 30-30 on the Austrian's serve. Once again, Thiem exhibited his big-match temperament and produced clutch tennis to avoid the danger and hold serve.

Seizing his opportunity on the Federer serve in the next game, Thiem found extra zip on his groundstrokes to break the Swiss maestro and promptly served out the win to land the biggest title of his career. In the process, Thiem joined his illustrious compatriot Thomas Muster as the only Austrian players to lift a Masters 1000 title.

It would be the Austrian's first of a career-best five titles on the season highlghted by consecutive runner-up finishes to Rafael Nadal in back-to-back Roland Garros finals and a loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in a third-set tiebreak in the final of the season-ending ATP Finals in London.


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Published 09 Mar 2020, 07:26 IST
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