MUNICH, April 30, 2016
Three of the five top-seeds headlined semi-finals action at the BMW Open by FWU AG on a sunny Saturday in Munich.
In the opening match on centre court, the tournament’s number three Dominic Thiem downed eighth favourite Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his third final on the ATP World Tour this season.
The German teenager did not only have to battle his opponent today, but also close calls from the umpire and some kids, who seemed to move in the wrong moment – at least from Zverev’s point of view. In the end, it was Thiem, who showed particularly pronounced mental strength and also started to outplay his opponent in some rallies of the final set.
“I served worse than the days before,” told Zverev, who landed only 55% of his first services. “I hardly got any free points on my own serve. After the breaks in the third set, it became really difficult.”
Asked about the incident with a boy in the stands he said:
“He was sticking his head out of his box. I saw it while serving and I thought that he would come off. So my focus was not on the ball anymore.”
But Zverev could also take some positives from Munich.
“I played three good matches here, beat the number 13 in the world (David Goffin-editor’s note). Overall it was a good week for me here.”
Zverev didn’t make it into the main draw of the Mutua Madrid Open next, so he will probably return to action at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome.
Thiem produced nine double faults throughout his semi-final encounter, but finished the two hours battle with his sixth ace. The Austrian youngster also improves to 14-0 in decisive set matches.
“It was a special match for me today. Alex is a fantastic player and I was really nervous at the beginning. This might be one reason for the amount of double faults. Yet, he also returns really well. It always feels like that I am not having the chance to hit an ace, that I need to do something special with my serve. So I also felt to take some risk with my second service,” Thiem explained.
“I think the key was in the second set when Alex experienced a short period of weakness and gave me the chance to break. I tried to put more variety in my shots with drop shots and slices, as it is really difficult to beat him from the baseline,” said Thiem, who is now the leader on the ATP World Tour this season with 29 match wins, one more than world number one Novak Djokovic.
“This is great, as it’s already May, but you have to compare where Novak celebrated his wins and where I did. Most of my wins were not at Grand Slam or Masters level,” Thiem had to admit and added that he didn’t practice with Juan Martin Del Potro during the week in Munich. The Argentine will be Thiem’s first round opponent in Madrid next week.
In Munich’s title match, Thiem will square-off with top-German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who eased past Fabio Fognini, winning 6-1, 6-4. The world number 27 saved all three break points he faced, converting three of his own to prevail in 64 minutes. Kohlschreiber extends his lead in head to head record over the Italian to 4-1.
“I am a bit surprised by the clear results I achieved this week,” said Kohlschreiber, who didn’t drop a set en route to his fifth Munich final. “In the past, I always had to fight hard and I am not used to beat those kind of opponents with such clear results.
“It is an extra motivation to play in front of my home crowd and I really would love to win the car. But it will be very difficult tomorrow. Dominic is in great shape, using the angles a lot with his serve. He has two faces on the court and acts very clever. He is able to change tactics quickly.”
Kohlschreiber rained on Thiem’s parade in the final of the Austrian’s home tournament in Kitzbühel last year, winning in straight sets. It was the only previous tour meeting between the two. This Sunday, Thiem wants to turn the tables.
“It would be nice to take revenge by claiming the title at Philipp’s home tournament,” Thiem stated with an impish grin.