Fixture: Dominic Thiem vs Andrey Rublev
Date: 30 October 2020
Tournament: Erste Bank Open 2020
Venue: Vienna, Austria
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: €1,409,510
Match timing: Approx. 4 pm local time, 8.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony ESPN
Dominic Thiem vs Andrey Rublev preview
Dominic Thiem hasn't dropped a set so far in his title defense of the Vienna Open. However, he has a tough task ahead as he takes on World No. 8 Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals on Friday.
The World No. 3 arrived in Vienna on the back of a great 2020 season, which saw him lift his maiden Major trophy at the US Open. Thiem wasn't able to perform as well at the succeeding Slam, losing in the last eight of the French Open, but he seems to have put that disappointment behind him.
The Austrian kicked off his home tournament with a straight-sets victory over lucky loser Vitaliy Sachko. While the match was closer than the scoreline would suggest, the spectators were treated to some sublime power hitting by the Austrian at the tail-end of the encounter.
In his next match against Cristian Garin, Thiem picked up from where he left off. He totally outclassed the Chilean, losing only 10 points on serve in what was a comfortable win.
Thiem has been at his ball-bashing best on the indoor hardcourts of Vienna, but it is also to be noted that he hasn't faced an opponent quite near his level yet. That will change when the Austrian takes on the intense Andrey Rublev - who himself has enjoyed a banner year in 2020.
The Russian has won four titles in 2020, with two of them having come at ATP 500 events in Hamburg and St. Petersburg. Rublev also reached back-to-back quarterfinals at the US Open and the French Open in what has been a breakout season.
Seeking his fifth ATP title of the year, Rublev has been in fine form in Vienna. After quickly brushing aside Slovakia's Norbert Gombos in his opener, the World No. 8 was expected to face tough competition against rising star Jannik Sinner in the Round of 16. However, Sinner was forced to retire 2-1 down in the opening set due to a foot injury.
Dominic Thiem vs Andrey Rublev head-to-head
Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev have faced off thrice on the ATP tour, with Thiem leading the head-to-head 2-1.
The two first locked horns here in Vienna itself three years ago, with Thiem winning in straight sets. The Austrian repeated that result at Monte Carlo in 2018, before Rublev registered an upset win in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Hamburg Open.
The pair also faced each other twice during the unofficial Thiem's 7 Exhibition, with the Russian triumphing in the final.
Dominic Thiem vs Andrey Rublev prediction
Dominic Thiem's aggressive baseline game yielded good results during this part of the season last year. The Austrian has always possessed natural power from both wings, but his improvements in point construction and mixing up of spins have made him a real force to reckon with on all surfaces.
Andrey Rublev happens to be a player in a similar mold, with powerful groundstrokes off both wings. While the Russian's backhand has lacked muscle for most of his young career, he has made ample improvements to the shot over the last one year.
With impressive footwork that allows him to get around to his inside-out forehand, the Russian will look to take the ball early to try and keep Thiem at bay in the baseline rallies. However, Thiem seems to be in the groove right now, and the added motivation of doing well at his home event might help him get past the finish line.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in three tight sets.Published 30 Oct 2020, 02:44 IST