Madrid Open 2019: Fabio Fognini vs Dominic Thiem, match preview and prediction
The Madrid Open 2019 is all set to play host to potentially one of the most entertaining matches this year. The winners of the last two claycourt tournaments, Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini, will face off against each other for a place in the quarterfinals.
Thiem, the winner of the Barcelona Open a few weeks ago, is in great form and is striking the ball well. On the other hand Fognini, the winner of the Monte Carlo Masters, has never looked as focused as he has over the past month.
Fognini is looking in top gear in Madrid too with two straight sets victories over Kyle Edmund and John Millman in the first two round. Thiem meanwhile played his second round match against the young American Reilly Opelka and lost the first set, but came back and won the second before Opelka retired hurt.
In any tennis match, if one of the players displays variety on the court, it makes for a great spectacle. But in this match both the players have amazing variety in their game, which promises to give the crowd a tremendous amount of entertainment.
Thiem is looking masterful with his crosscourt backhands and Fognini is always a delight with his jet-packed forehand down the line. Moreover, both these players are in the form of their lives and clay is their most preferred surface, which adds even more intrigue to the contest.
Thiem and Fognini have fought three battles against each other with Thiem winning two and Fognini one. Their last encounter was in the second round of Rome 2018 and Fognini won that match in three sets.
Fognini can take confidence from that match into today's contest. Even though he seems to be an underdog with respect to the numbers, he always attracts huge crowds in Madrid and he can use their support to rattle the Austrian.
As for Thiem, his performance in Barcelona last week was possibly his best ever showing on clay, and he would want to continue the same form in Madrid as well. His style of play, especially the angles he creates with his backhand, is definitely going to be tough for the Italian.
That said, Fognini's defense on clay is on par with likes of Nadal and Djokovic, so it won't be easy for Thiem to hit the ball past him.
Match prediction: Fabio Fognini to win in three sets.