It was a match between the former rising star and the next generation star as Juan Martin del Potro went up against Dominic Thiem in the first round at Madrid. With his current run, Thiem was the player on form while del Potro was still working his way back on clay.
It was a tight tussle in the first set as neither player could find the break forcing a tiebreak. Del Potro eventually edged to take the first set. An early break was all he needed in the second set as even a late resistance from Thiem was not enough to prevent the Argentine from sealing a 7-6(5), 6-3 straight sets victory.
Del Potro saves three set point to edge a tight set
A failed drop shot attempt by Thiem handed del Potro with an early break point at the start of the match. Thiem though was able to save it with one of his huge forehands before going on to close out the game. The Argentine was playing a solid game dropping just one point in his first two games to level for 2-2. Thiem was forced to work harder on his service games as he struggled to get first serves in.
The Austrian was in trouble again facing double break point in the seventh game. Thiem however stayed composed to once again deny the del Potro the break. The Argentine was well in control of his games displaying his powerful strikes to keep the match going on serve.
Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, del Potro was tested by Thiem who carved his first break point. The Argentine hammered a huge serve to save it but was having trouble closing out the game making errors to hand the Austrian a couple more opportunities to take the set. Del Potro though fended off Thiem each time to finally level the set 5-5.
The Austrian was starting to play better in his service games pulling del Potro to the net to good effect as he held his game with ease for 6-5. The match eventually went to a tiebreak with del Potro getting off to an ideal start winning the first three points to take a 3-0 lead. The Austrian though managed to get back the mini break as he evened it for 4-4. Del Potro then got his first set point with an ace and grabbed it to clinch the set 7-6(5) as Thiem fired his shot long.
An early break seals the match for del Potro
Del Potro had a sluggish start to the second set and Thiem used his imposing forehand to create an immediate break point. The tall Argentine was however able to dig his way out of trouble to start the set with a hold. Del Potro then earned triple break point forcing the Austrian to commit errors. And on his third opportunity he finally capitalized for the first break of the entire match. He went on to consolidate and extend his lead to 3-0.
Thiem eventually stopped the run of games as he held for 1-3. The Austrian was still fighting hard though and had another chance but del Potro stood firm to keep Thiem at bay to go 4-1 up. The 22-year-old could not make inroads on the Argentine’s service game having to serve to stay in the match trailing 2-5.
He managed to hold to love to force del Potro to serve it out. Having two match points to on his racket, a tense del Potro squandered them away to hand break back point to Thiem. The Austrian though failed to convert but was applying the pressure to create another. That huge serve of the Argentine came to his rescue yet again before he finally sealed victory on his third match point.
Match by the numbers
There were break opportunities for both players in the match but Thiem was unable to capitalize on any of his eight chances. Del Potro stood firm and converted that one break in the second set with six chances of his own and it proved enough in the end.