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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday October 25, 2022

 
Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem saved a pair of match points to knock out Tommy Paul in Vienna.
 

Dominic Thiem surfed waves of emotion in Vienna as a packed house cheered his every move on Tuesday at the Erste Bank Open.

Waves were choppy at times, but eventually the Austrian rode home with a well-deserved prize: a stunning and emotional 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(6) victory over 30th-ranked Tommy Paul.

Tennis Express

Thiem will face either top-seeded Daniil Medvedev or Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round on Thursday in Vienna.

It was an uphill battle for the 29-year-old, who dropped the first set before he found any semblance of his top level.

But something clicked in the second set, and as the match progressed, Thiem settled into a feverish run of play that was good enough to remain in lockstep with Paul in what was one of the best matches of the 2022 season, and maybe the best since the conclusion of the US Open.


“I was always running behind the whole match today and I guess that's what you call home advantage, the crowd was unbelievable,” elated Thiem said after his win. “I really missed that three years ago was the last time I had an atmosphere like this here. So, just happy that I won it at the end because it could have gone easily the other way today.”

Thiem admitted that he was at a loss, and searching for form early in the match. It is something he has experienced before in Vienna, where he won the title in 2019 but hasn’t always been a dominant force, at 16-9 lifetime.

“Somehow the conditions are always different here in this stadium,” Thiem said. “Since the first time I played here, they are like nowhere else you know? Because some other tournaments are similar but here it's different, this centre court. So I had troubles to get into the match, and he was playing well as well.

“Good that I kept the match close in the second set and played the best tennis in the tiebreaks.”

Thiem, who saved a break point that would have given Paul a double-break lead in the third set, rallied from 4-1 to eventually force a third-set tiebreak.

But he was not out of hot water yet. He needed some help from Paul, who showed his nerves after he earned two match points at 6-4. That lapse helped the former World No.3 reel off the final four points and clinch a massive victory.

“That's a big win, especially after two weeks to back it up in this tournament,” Thiem said. “The players who are competing are like only top-30, top-40. As I said before the tournament a victory against Tommy Paul would be unbelievable for me; it would be great stuff, and here I am – I won the match, so super, super happy.”

Elsewhere in Vienna, Grigor Dimitrov defeated Thiago Monteiro, Cameron Norrie topped Pedro Cachin, Denis Shapovalov movecd past Jurij Rodionov and Emil Ruusuvuori eased past Lorenzo Sonego.

 

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