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By Adrianna Outlaw | Saturday, July 25, 2015

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem defeated Gael Monfils 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to set up an Umag final against Joao Sousa.

Photo credit: Croatia Open Umag

Dominic Thiem's bleach-blonde hairstyle has turned heads this week. Today, his mental acuity turned the match around.

Dismissed in the first set, Thiem dominated the last set defeating Gael Monfils, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, to roar into the Umag final.

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The 21-year-old Thiem is the first Austrian since Thomas Muster in 1995 to reach the final. It is the second ATP final of the season for Thiem, who captured his first ATP championship in Nice earlier this year.

The fourth-seeded Thiem will play Joao Sousa in tomorrow's final. The 51st-ranked Sousa surprised second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the day's first semifinal.

Sousa became the first Portuguese player to reach the Umag final, but he had to battle extremely hard to get past Bautista Agut. He failed to convert his first nine break points against the Spaniard, but finally broke through after dropping the opener to take a 3-2 lead in the middle set. In the final set Sousa broke through for a 4-3 lead and won the final two games to seal his spot in the final, clinching with a gorgeous drop lob winner to end proceedings in two hours and 29 minutes.

The top-seeded Monfils looked sharp and played proactive tennis bursting out to a 4-1 lead after 16 minutes. Monfils broke at love on a Thiem double fault for 5-1, closing an exceedingly clean opening set in 22 minutes. Monfils permitted just nine points in the opener, but lost the plot in the second set.

Thiem began to vary his depth and spins, sometimes working his slice backhand into rallies disrupting the Frenchman's rhythm. As Thiem found his range, Monfils drifted into passive positions. The Austrian served 76 percent and hit all three of his aces in the second set.

Monfils fought off triple break point for a hard-earned hold in the third. That was his his last stand. Dictating rallies from the center of the court, Thiem reeled off six straight games as an increasingly disinterested Monfils offered little resistance in the final two games playing points with casual indifference.
Thiem has won both career meetings with Sousa, including a 7-6 (6), 6-4 win in Marseille earlier this year.


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