In a battle of the rising stars, American Jack Sock meets Austrian Dominic Thiem in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open. This will be the second time ever that the two have met, with their first meeting coming last year at the Miami Open.
So Far In Indian Wells
Both men were seeded heading into the tournament so each player has only played one match so far. Thiem faced off against qualifier Jozef Kovalik in his second round match. The Slovakian who defeated fellow qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his opening round match, pushed the Austrian in his opener, getting into two tiebreak sets. However, Thiem survived in both tiebreaks to set up this “popcorn match”.
Sock, the 21st seed, had a much less challenging opening match. He met Michael Berrer, who defeated Juan Monaco in his opener. The American had a much easier time, taking out the German 6-2, 6-4.
The only time these two up and comers and have met was at the Miami Open last year. Ironically enough, their meeting came in the third round in Key Biscayne. The Austrian took this first-ever meeting 6-4, 6-3 over the American.
The 11th-seeded Austrian is growing into a special player. Already in 2016, he’s picked up two titles on two different surfaces. His game is growing into one of the most complete ones among the next generation of ATP’s superstars. His backhand has always been the talking point because of how powerful he can hit his one-hander, capable of hitting winners with it, no matter where he is.
Now in 2016, he’s added a more consistent forehand and serve. The Austrian is now able to get free points off his serve or can end points quickly with the short balls he can take off his serve. Now with his forehand, he is able to dictate points off both wings which should provide some trouble for the American.
Sock, on the other hand, plays a much different style compared to Thiem. The American has tremendous athletic ability and is known for his heavy topspin on the forehand side. The heavy topspin and kick serve of Sock should help him on these courts. However, he needs to avoid getting into long rallies where Thiem will hold the upper-hand, especially if the Austrian starts going backhand-to-backhand.
The fitness and backhand of the 21 seed are his true weaknesses, but with this match being later in the day, the former shouldn’t be too much of a problem. His backhand, still leaves something to be desired. He doesn’t constantly slice it like fellow countryman Steve Johnson, but he just guides it over, leaving it to be attacked.
Prediction: Thiem in three sets
Conditions will help the American mightily. However, Thiem will be the man to control the baseline rallies which will help him get through.