Fixture: (4) Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Andujar
Date: 30 May 2021
Tournament: Roland Garros 2021
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red Clay
Prize Money: €17,171,108
Match timing: Approx. 1 pm local time, 11 am GMT, 7 am EST, 4.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports, Hotstar
Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Andujar preview
Following its deferment last year due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Roland Garros has returned to its normal window this season. And among the many highlight encounters in the first round on Sunday is the one between two-time finalist Dominic Thiem and tour veteran Pablo Andujar.
Andujar is no stranger to the dirt. For a player who wins 11.8% of his matches on grass and 28.6% of his matches on hardcourts, the Spaniard does markedly well on clay.
His win rate on the grainy red soil stands at 50.2%. And while that might not seem like much at first glance, it does include four titles and more than 100 match wins.
For all the accomplishments over the course of his career, a recent upset win might go down as Andujar's most memorable moment. In the lead-up to Roland Garros, the 35-year-old took out Roger Federer in the second round of Geneva.
Andujar went on to make the semifinals of the tournament, where he lost to eventual champion Casper Ruud.
While the Spaniard has a mere 7-10 win-loss record in 2021, three of those wins came during the Geneva week. That is a good indication he has had decent preparation for Paris.
The standards by which we judge Dominic Thiem are significantly different though. If Andujar and Thiem both reach the semifinals of an ATP 250 tournament, we consider that to be a success for one but a failure for the other.
After all, Thiem wins 74.5% of his matches on clay, a surface where he has captured 10 titles. And the 2020 US Open champion would have been the favorite to reach the final at this year's Roland Garros if not for his questionable form.
Thiem has compiled a measly 9-7 win-loss record in 2021 so far. Following his loss to Lloyd Harris in the second round of Dubai, the Austrian returned to the court only in Madrid - after a gap of almost two months.
It did appear at first that Thiem was making steady progress in the Spanish capital. But his defeat to Alexander Zverev in the semifinals was followed by losses against Lorenzo Sonego in the third round of Rome and Cameron Norrie in the second round of Lyon.
A player of Thiem's caliber should ideally clear the initial rounds in Paris with ease, and even improve his form with each passing day. But the 27-year-old's position this year remains a big question mark, given his recent struggles.
Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Andujar head-to-head
Dominic Thiem and Pablo Andujar have squared off against each other three times over the course of their careers, with Thiem leading the head-to-head 3-0.
All of their meetings have come on outdoor clay, and the Austrian hasn't dropped a set in any of them.
Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Andujar prediction
As per the latest Elo ratings provided by Tennis Abstract, Pablo Andujar's adjusted clay Elo is 1708 while that of Dominic Thiem is 1990. The difference in their scores equates to a win probability of 83.53% for Thiem.
The 27-year-old is expected to win around 59% of his service points, while Andujar is expected to win around 53% of his.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in 4 sets for the loss of 16 games.