UMAG, July 25, 2015
The tournament’s two top-favourites were knocked out on semi-finals Saturday at the Konzum Croatia Open in Umag.
Dominic Thiem ousted first-seed Gael Monfils, winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. The 21-year-old Austrian won 65% of his first service points and seemed to be in good physical shape at the end of the match, reaching his second final of the season after one hour and 27 minutes. Thiem captured the title in Nice earlier this year and is understandably happy to reach another final.
“Really tough conditions here, it’s so hot. You sweat like crazy. We were both pretty tired in the end but I think it was good that I didn’t show it that much. It was an advantage, being a break up pretty early in the third set. That’s also part of the mental thing,” Thiem told afterwards.
“I played a lot of junior tournaments here in Umag, seeing the centre court a couple of times. I always dreamed about playing here an ATP event. Reaching the final at my first appearance feels absolutely great. A lot of Austrians are here on holidays and support me,” the youngster enjoyed his match this evening.
Thiem had to take criticism after Austria’s defeat in the Davis Cup to the Netherlands last weekend, so this victory was a bit like balm on his soul. “Davis Cup was really disappointing but after a rest I need some time to get back on track. A victory over de Bakker would have helped, but a lot of things didn’t go my way last weekend, whereas today it was totally different. Things like that happen in tennis. For me it’s a great thing getting confidence back here after such a disappointment,” Thiem said.
Thiem will face Joao Sousa, who celebrated his first victory over Roberto Bautista-Agut, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The 26-year-old Portuguese lost four previous meetings with Umag’s second seeded Spaniard, however, those took place on the ATP Challenger Tour as well as the ITF Future Circuit. On Saturday, Sousa needed some time to find his rhythm but played a solid match, winning 73% of his first service points and capitalized on four of his 19 break point chances to advance to his first tour final since Geneva after two hours and 19 minutes.
“Of course you feel tired after the match, but I think it was a good one and I am happy to be in another final,” Sousa told afterwards. “I did pretty well to adjust to the conditions here, as I played Davis Cup before and I had a late arrival. I am pleased the way I am playing here,” he stated but still needs to improve his Croatian. “Maybe some girls can help me with the language,” Sousa was joking.
In the final match of the day Maximo Gonzalez and Andre Sa captured the doubles title, winning 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 against Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez in 80 minutes.
Andre Sa spoke to the audience during the ceremony on centre court: