In an another interesting first round contest, two-time French Open runner-up and the World No.4 Austria’s Dominic Thiem takes on the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist Sam Querrey in their Round of 128 clash on the second day of the Wimbledon Championships 2019.
The 25-year old Dominic Thiem is a clay-based star, perhaps next only to ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal himself on current form, but has a lot to prove elsewhere, especially on grass and at Wimbledon.
Just as Nadal and the World No.1 Novak Djokovic, Thiem opted out of playing in any competitive warm-up tournaments in the lead up to the Wimbledon owing to the exhaustion from the tiring clay-court season.
One can expect the young Austrian to be upbeat and ready once again to compete in perhaps the most difficult Slam of the year for him, the Wimbledon.
2019 so far has been a remarkable and coming of an age year for the young Austrian having won his first ever ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells and a title triumph at Barcelona Open before finishing as a runner-up yet again at this year’s Roland Garros.
Thiem has already taken down the likes of Roger Federer twice and Nadal and Djokovic once each so far this year and would hope to transcend his rich vein of form at the All England Club as well.
Wimbledon 2019 offers the fifth seed an excellent opportunity to showcase his prowess on grass and make a strong statement to the world of tennis that he is equally good and versatile on all the surfaces and not alone on clay and at the French Open.
Thiem’s best Wimbledon performance so far came in 2017 when he made it to last 16 before bowing out to spirited Tomas Berdych in their 4th round contest in five intense sets.
The 25-year old Austrian, who had to retire mid-match in his first round contest against Marcos Baghdatis at Wimbledon last year due to an apparent back-injury would be hoping to eclipse his previous best performance at the All England Club this year to make a strong impression on the lush green courts at Wimbledon.
On the other hand, a fallen hero in big-serving, the lanky American Querrey , who relishes playing on grass would be looking forward for resurgence at this year’s Wimbledon following a rather successful return to competitive tennis at the just concluded Nature Valley International at Eastbourne where he finished as a runner-up after he was stunned in the final in straight-sets by his compatriot Taylor Fritz.
Wimbledon always has been a happy hunting ground for the tall American and would look forward to draw some inspiration from his performances of 2016 and 2017 at the All England Club where he finished as a quarter-finalist and semi-finalist respectively and en route got better of some of the big names like Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Andy Murray in 2017.
Thiem and Querrey have faced each other on four occasions so far and the 25-year old Austrian is leading their exchanges 3-1.
However, their upcoming first round clash at Wimbledon 2019 is their first ever meeting on grass and on the current form of Querrey, Thiem can expect a stern test from the dynamic and a little unpredictable American on a surface which his opponent enjoys playing on.
One can expect Thiem to be fresh and well-rested heading into the Wimbledon following a time off the game after the French Open while Querrey would feel confident following his appearance in the final at Eastbourne just a few days ago.
In their opening clash, if Querrey settles into a nice rhythm just as he did couple of seasons ago at Wimbledon, Thiem would struggle to get past the big-serving American. However, the Austrian has plenty of experience of playing at the bigger stages of the game and has been enjoying a rich vein of success against best of the best players so far this year.
It would be intriguing to witness how Thiem brings his clay-court style of play to combat aggressive and big serving American on fast paced grass courts. This is certainly one of the one of first round matches to look forward to at this year’s Wimbledon.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in four sets.Published 02 Jul 2019, 13:13 IST