Following his remarkable US Open triumph, Dominic Thiem has turned all of his focus on his title defense at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The Austrian may not have gotten off to a flier in his first match, but he looked to have settled well in his second-rounder against Cristian Garin.
Ahead of his quarterfinal encounter against Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem had words of very high praise for the Russian - even claiming he's one of the top 5 players on tour at the moment.
"For me, he is currently one of the five best players in the world," said Dominic Thiem. "He is in incredible shape, plays every ball at a murderous pace."
Andrey Rublev is behind only Novak Djokovic in terms of match wins in 2020, amid a catastrophic year for the sport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian boasts as many as four titles this year- in Adelaide, Doha, Hamburg, and St. Petersburg.
Thiem also talked about how easygoing Rublev is, and how good it is to train with him during practice.
"He is also one of my favorite people and my favorite training partner at the Tour. It's going to be incredibly difficult," said the US Open champion.
Dominic Thiem is 'very happy' with progress at the Vienna Open so far
Dominic Thiem took a moment to acknowledge Vitaliy Sachko's solid performance against him in the first round. He went on to claim that Sachko's ranking doesn't do justice to the way he played.
"It was a really good game of mine, I played very solidly from the beginning to the end. It was a good match in the first round against an opponent who definitely played better than his ranking says," said the 27-year-old.
Thiem was also pleased with his performance against Garin, and expressed confidence going into the match against Rublev despite having acknowledged the difficulty of the task at hand.
"I trained well today and won against a very good opponent. I'm very happy," the World No. 3 added.
Even if he gets past the tough hurdle in the form of Andrey Rublev, Thiem could face World No. 6 Daniil Medvedev in the semifinal. After that, he could possibly set up a repeat of the Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic, who can confirm the year-end No. 1 ranking by winning the title in Vienna.Published 30 Oct 2020, 15:47 IST