French Open: Dominic Thiem battles past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets

French Open: Dominic Thiem battles past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets

Dominic Thiem reached the third round of the French Open for the first time after defeating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets.

liliana-martinez
Liliana Martinez

Dominic Thiem and Guillermo Garcia Lopez met for the first time in the second round of the French Open. The Austrian had a slow start, but soon found his way and booked his spot in the third round in a straight sets victory, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6. This marks the best result for Thiem on the French Open who reaches the third round of this Grand Slam for the first time.

Thiem Recovers and Takes the First Set

Dominic Thiem of Austria hits a forehand during the Men's Singles second round match against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem of Austria hits a forehand during the Men's Singles second round match against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

It was a flawed first game for the Austrian who after Garcia-Lopez hit a lucky shot with the help of the net went on to make two unforced errors and a double fault on break point. The mistakes continued for Thiem who helped Garcia-Lopez to hold his serve after four straight unforced errors. The Spaniard was leading 2-0. Thiem won his first point of the match after hitting a good first serve that forced Garcia-Lopez to make the forced error. The Austrian got on the scoreboard with an ace, but the Spaniard was still a break up 2-1. Garcia-Lopez was in total control on his serve, barely letting Thiem win a point. On the other side of the court, Thiem began to show better movement which helped him to win points and avoid being two breaks down.

In the eighth game, Thiem came back from being 15-40 to get his first break point after Garcia-Lopez hit a forehand unforced error. The Spaniard saved the break point, but Thiem didn’t take long to get another chance to level the match. Garcia-Lopez went on to save the second break point with a forehand winner which caused the Austrian to show his frustration after wasting two opportunities. The Spaniard survived that service game and now was up 5-3. The frustration of the last game didn’t seem to affect Thiem who won his serve without any complications.

Garcia-Lopez then had to serve for the match, but Dominic Thiem had been building his comeback. This time, it was the Spaniard who struggled as he was not able to convert two set points. However, Thiem was determined to get the break back and he only needed one break point to level up to 5-5. Thiem’s good streak continued as he held his serve to love. Garcia-Lopez who was frustrated after those missing chances of serving the set was not able to get over it, now he had the pressure of holding his serve to force the first set to a tiebreak. Thiem’s confidence was back and he showed it when he quickly got himself three set points. Thiem went on to win the last seventeen points and after hitting a forehand winner sealed the first set 7-5 after 47 minutes.

Thiem Gets the Break at a Perfect Time

Thiem didn’t make the same mistake than on the first set and went on to hold his serve. Garcia-Lopez forgot about the first set and was ready to take this second set, doing the same thing as the Austrian and holding his serve without complications. It was Garcia-Lopez who had the first chance to break Thiem. This unloaded the frustration Thiem had been carrying in the first set who responded with a racquet smash. The Austrian let out a huge ‘come on’ as he managed to hit a good first serve that helped him save the break point. However, Garcia-Lopez was doing everything to get the early lead. Thiem survived this little scare by hitting another good serve to be 3-2.

It was a tense scenario as Garcia-Lopez did a double fault to give Thiem a break point. The Spaniard had an exchange of words with the umpire as he went to examine the mark. However, everything stayed in just a scare as Garcia-Lopez saved the break point and held to level things to 3-3. Both players then proceed to hold their serves. The Austrian won his serve with a mix of powerful forehands, serve, and drop shots to be up 5-4. Thiem got two set points, but the Spaniard saved both of them. Nonetheless, Thiem couldn’t have asked for a better time to break and he did hitting a beautiful backhand volley to grab the second set 6-4.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain plays a backhand against Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain plays a backhand against Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

Thiem Struggles but Dominates the Tiebreak

It was a shaky start of the set for Thiem who had to come back from being 0-40 down to hold his serve. Meanwhile, Garcia-Lopez had the opposite game, holding to love. After playing two great sets, Thiem found himself struggling with his serve, playing like in the first games of the opening set and making lots of mistakes. Garcia-Lopez took advantage of the situation and got the break to lead 2-1. Both players held their following serves, but Thiem was still a break behind and needed to break back if he wanted to attempt to win this in three sets. On the eighth game of the set, Thiem channeled his attitude of the first set and broke after hitting a fast forehand to level up to 4-4. The good feeling didn’t last long for both players who went on to exchange breaks to be 5-5.

Just like in the first set, Thiem held to be 5-6 but this time, Garcia-Lopez held to force the third set to a tiebreak. On the tiebreak, it was Thiem who got a mini-break to lead 3-1, but the Spaniard wasn’t far behind who went on to also break Thiem to be 2-3. The Austrian was on full speed as he broke Garcia-Lopez to lead 5-2. Back on his serve, Thiem got his first match point after hitting an ace. He missed the first match point after hitting a backhand into the net. If Thiem wanted to win the match he had to break Garcia-Lopez again, and so he did, winning with a backhand volley.

Thiem’s Win By Numbers

Overall, it was a very even match. Thiem hit seven aces while Garcia-Lopez hit five. The Austrian had the bigger number on double faults, hitting seven of them. Thiem won 40 points out of 57 on his first set, while the Spaniard won 37 out of 52. Both players did pretty well playing at the net, Thiem won 13 out of 18 points. The Austrian had twelve chances to break in all the match and he took only five of them. While Garcia-Lopez only converted 3 out of 9 chances to break. Thiem managed to score 44 winners and make 43 unforced errors which are pretty even to his opponent who got 30 winners and 31 unforced errors.

Alexander Zverev Next

On his third round match, Thiem will face another young promise, Alexander Zverev. This will be the third meeting between the young players, both on this year and on clay. Thiem beat Zverev on the semifinal in Munich and in the final last week on Nice. Both of those matches went to three sets. Thiem and Zverev are looking forward to reach the fourth round of the French Open for the first time.

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