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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, April 17, 2018

 
Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem denied match point in the 10th game, rallying past Andrey Rublev, 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, into a Monte-Carlo showdown with Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric.

Photo credit: @ROLEXMCMASTERS

Dominic Thiem's comeback match escalated into an adrenaline rush.

The Dominator played Denier riding the stress test into the Monte-Carlo round of 16.

Watch: Djokovic Discusses Agassi, Stepanek Relationships

Thiem saved match point in the 10th game of the decider reeling off three straight games to rally past Andrey Rublev, 5-7, 7-5, 7-5.

The fifth-seeded Austrian fought off seven of 10 break points roaring back from a 1-4 deficit in the decisive set to earn his first win since stopping Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells last month.

The two-time Roland Garros semifinalist hobbled off the court after suffering an ankle injury in the third set of his third-round match vs. Pablo Cuevas in Indian Wells on March 12th.



Moving fluidly today, Thiem looked fit and hit his groundstrokes with his familiar ferocity and showed some exceptional variety off the one-handed backhand.

The 20-year-old Russian rolled out to a 4-1 lead in the decider only to see Thiem level.

Rublev ripped a pair of backhand passing shots in succession breaking Thiem with a flourish to serve for the match at 5-4. Holding match point at 40-30, Rublev was one point from his second career Top 10 victory, but sailed a forehand long.



Exploiting that miss, Thiem broke back to level then confirmed the break for 6-5.

Facing match point, Rublev rattled his fourth double fault bringing an anti-climactic conclusion to a tense two hour, 39-minute struggle.

The seventh-ranked Thiem will face either two-time former champion Novak Djokovic or Indian Wells semifinalist Borna Coric for a quarterfinal spot and possible shot at 10-time champion Rafael Nadal, who faces Aljaz Bedene in his opener.

Fernando Verdasco fought past Pablo Cuevas, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-1, capturing his 499th career victory in two hours, 50 minutes. The 37th-ranked Spaniard will play for his 500th career win against second-seeded Marin Cilic.

In an all-French clash, wild card Gilles Simon stopped 16th-seeded Adrian Mannarino, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Simon saved 10 of 15 break points moving into a second-round meeting with Russian powerhouse Karen Khachanov.




Fabio Fognini broke five times in a 6-4, 7-5 conquest of qualifier Ilya Ivashka.

The 13th-seeded Italian meets Jan-Lennard Struff, a 6-3, 6-2, victor over Yuichi Sugita, next.




 

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