After his solid debut in the British capital against the Russian Andrey Rublev (6-3, 6-4), Nadal found himself with a great rival, one of the few who can deal with you on whatever surface. After two hours and 25 minutes of intense battle, the balance fell in favor of the Austrian.
In this way, Thiem, who had already eliminated Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year, was confirmed as the Balearic’s executioner, who paid dearly for the good opportunities he enjoyed in the first set tiebreaker, where both were insurmountable service.
In the ‘tiebreak’, the manacorí was placed with a 5-2 advantage and had two set balls that his rival saved showing character and tennis of many carats. After going 7-6 down, Thiem scored three consecutive points and did not miss his first chance to win the opening set.
NADAL SURVIVES WITHOUT REWARD
In the second set the tremendous equality was maintained and the only attempt to escape by the Spanish was quickly aborted. It happened after the seventh game, when he scored his only break of the afternoon to reach 4-3 and serve, but the Viennese returned the break of service immediately afterwards.
Nadal accused the blow and with 5-5 chained three improper errors, within his only gap in the match, to give his rival a 0-40 that seemed definitive. It was not so. He took out his rage, lifted three match balls, including a spectacular blow to the back below the legs, and breathed until a new tiebreaker, where he found no reward for his survival instinct.
Thiem, turned into an insurmountable rock and author of 12 more winners on aggregate (37-25), did not accuse the lost chances and maintained the initiative in the final stages of the match. After 3-3, he pressed the accelerator towards victory, which he finished off in the fifth match ball he enjoyed, finally bending the arm of the world number two, who continues to depend on himself in this tournament of ‘masters’ despite the defeat.