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By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Wednesday, July 5, 2023


Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a thrilling five set battle against Dominic Thiem at Wimbledon.

Photo credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty

One man walks away with relief. One man walks away with heartbreak.

Yet, all who watched this match walked away thankful for their stellar shotmaking and determination. 

In an encounter that lived up to its early marquee billing, Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a razor close five-set battle against Dominic Thiem at Wimbledon.

His reward?

A second-round meeting against two-time champion Andy Murray on Centre Court that Tsitsipas later described as Murray’s “living room.”


The No. 5 seed Tsitsipas of Greece got through 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(8) in a nearly four-hour match against the 2020 US Open champion Thiem.


Tsitsipas later joked that it felt longer than that, especially since their match was delayed from yesterday due to rain.


“It was pretty stressful, I won’t lie," Tsitsipas said. "We were out there I don’t know how many hours.

"For a second I thought we were doing a repeat of Isner and Mahut. It felt forever.”



On Tuesday, the match started with Thiem taking the first set 6-3, before rain halted things midway through the second set. 


Thiem, now ranked World No. 91, has struggled with injuries and self-admitted burnout since winning the US Open in 2020.

Since that peak, Thiem has not reached the second round of a major since the 2021 Australian Open where he got to the fourth round.


When the match resumed, Tsitsipas got into a second set tiebreak that he soon raced through to take 7-6(1) and leveled at one set each.


Tsitsipas continued his momentum by seizing an early break in the third set. That allowed him to later close it out for 6-2 and take the lead.


But if Tsitsipas thought he would wrap things up, Thiem certainly had other ideas.


In the fourth set, Thiem resumed trying to find ways to close things up at the net. As he lifted his play, so did Tsitsipas. Both men did a stellar job of holding serve, with each serving at over 80 percent in the set. 


With a pair of solid volley winners, Tsitsipas forced a tiebreak.


Yet it was Thiem who secured the pivotal mini-break midway through the breaker. Up 3-2, Thiem ripped a 100 mph backhand passing shot winner to break Tsitsipas and go up 4-2. 


From there, Thiem took the set 7-6(5) after Tsitsipas netted a return down set point.


The final set proved too close to call as both men continued their high first-serving percentages. Things, though took a dramatic turn in the seventh game.


Tsitsipas, now serving, found himself facing a break point at 30-40. On the next point, Tsitsipas appeared to send a backhand long. But after an overrule by the umpire and subsequent replay showing that the ball landed in, the point was replayed. 


Tsitsipas came up with a stick volley winner to send things to deuce. He soon held for 4-all.


Later, Thiem served to force a final set match tiebreak at 6-5. When Thiem threw in a double fault at 30-all, Tsitsipas found himself at match point. Yet Thiem saved it with a superb forehand to get to deuce and then eventually held serve to secure his place in the match tiebreak.


By this time, Tsitsipas’ girlfriend Paula Badosa, fresh from her first-round win, reached Court 2 in time to take in the last stages. 

The extended match tiebreak eventually would be decided by how each man responded when going up to the line to serve.


Tsitsipas would take an early mini break lead at 4-2 with a stab volley winner. Then Thiem pulled back even a few points later when his opponent just missed on a backhand pass. 




The crucial point came at 7-all when Thiem netted what looked like an easy short forehand winner. That mistake handed Tsitsipas another two match points. 


Thiem saved the first MP against him with a forehand winner. Yet it was Tsitsipas who sealed the victory with a forehand pass winner to reach the second round victory in five sets.


The head-to-head between Murray and Tsitsipas is tied at 1-all. Their last meeting was at last year’s Stuttgart quarterfinals on grass where Murray won 7-6(4), 6-3. 


Tsitsipas was asked later on his thoughts on playing Murray tomorrow.


I won't know till I have to face him. He is a strong opponent, he has played on this court so many times," Tsitsipas said of two-time Olympic gold-medal champion Murray. "Grass suits his game very good. He has shown it with titles, two titles here, at Wimbledon. He has won Queen's in the past. He's a strong opponent on grass.


"I played him once before on grass in Stuttgart. I need to up my game on this occasion. Looking forward on having to face his solid game, which will make it physical. That is something that I haven't been exposed to a lot on grass, but I will have to put in the work and make it work this way.



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