2017 Season Review: Dominic Thiem

The 24-year-old finished his season at a career-high ranking of world number four.

2017 Season Review: Dominic Thiem
Thiem carrying his title in Rio, his lone title of the year (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Dominic Thiem was coming off of a career year in 2016. He reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open, reached the top-10 in terms rankings, and captured four titles including his biggest title at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco. 

The Austrian's encore was a but subpar, but he did take advantage of the injury bug that hit in 2017 as well as career-best performances in Grand Slams to propel him to his current ranking of five and cracked the top-four at one point this season.

Win-Loss

The 24-year-old went 49-27 this year which equates to a win percentage of 64.5 percent. Some notable win-loss marks for the Austrian were going 7-12 in matches that went to a deciding set. The greatest disparity in Thiem's win-loss record has to come when you compare his clay court results to his hard court results. Thiem was a masterful 24-5 on the dirt this year, but just a measly 21-19 on hard courts this past season. 

High Points

Though we know Thiem to struggle on hard and grass courts, he did well enough this season at Grand Slams to reach or match career-best results at the Slams. In Australia, he reached the fourth round, losing to David Goffin, bettering by one, his previous best of a third round showing in Melbourne last year.

He matched his French Open semifinal this year, showing that he will be a threat at Roland Garros for years to come. He went two rounds further at Wimbledon than he previously had. He lost to Tomas Berdych in a tight five-setter. Finally at the US Open, he matched his best showing at  Flushing Meadows by making the fourth round.

Undoubtedly, the clay season was the Austrian's highest point of the season. He started with his lone title of the year in Rio de Janeiro, rolling through the field by winning the title without dropping a set. He didn't drop a beat when he went to the European clay. 

He reached the Barcelona final after defeating Andy Murray in the semifinal in three sets. Thiem was known as the British killer this tournament, defeating three Brits in the tournament. He ran into Rafael Nadal though, who went on to claim a 10th Barcelona title.

Thiem celebrates a historic win over Rafael Nadal in Rome (Michael Steele/Getty Images)
 

The budding rivalry of the King of Clay against the Prince of Clay became a main storyline during this time of year as they met three more times after Barcelona. The 24-year-old reached the Madrid final against the King of Clay once again and the two put on of the finest displays of clay court tennis you would see in a grueling final as Nadal once again edged Thiem to claim a fifth Madrid title. 

Thiem would finally pip Nadal in Rome, defeating him in the quarterfinal but his efforts left him with nothing in the tank in his semifinal showdown with Novak Djokovic as the Serb made quick work of the Austrian. The 24-year-old would get his revenge on Djokovic in the French Open, crushing the former world number one before running into an inspired Nadal once again in the semifinals, who cruised to the final and eventually the title.

Low Points

Hard court struggles were the story of Thiem's season but especially the second half of his season. In his 10 tournaments on hard court post-Wimbledon, Thiem only managed to string back-to-back wins in a tournament twice, not really what you expect with the caliber of player the Rio champ is.

He made a quick exit at the Citi Open, getting upset by eventual finalist Kevin Anderson in the second round. In Montreal, Diego Schwartzman took the Austrian out in his opening match. He finally put a couple of wins together at the Western and Southern Open but played poorly in his quarterfinal match against David Ferrer.

The biggest disappointment of Thiem's season though has to be at the US Open. In the fourth round, he was up two sets to love against a flu-ridden Juan Martin del Potro and could not get the job done despite having chances to close it out in the fourth set. 

A dejected Thiem reacts after throwing away a two sets to love lead against an ill-ridden del Potro in the fourth round of the US Open (Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty Images)
A dejected Thiem reacts after throwing away a two sets to love lead against an ill-ridden del Potro in the fourth round of the US Open (Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty Images)

Clearly that blown lead took a mental toll on the Austrian as he went on to lose every match he played in the Asian swing before finally stopping the rot in Vienna with a victory over Andrey Rublev. He was ousted right after that once again as Richard Gasquet eliminated him, and Fernando Verdasco would be the one to take out the 24-year-old in Bercy.

At the Nitto ATP Finals, he played a tight match with Grigor Dimitrov in a battle that could have swung the momentum of the group to either player. In the end, it was the Bulgarian who edged out Thiem. The Austrian played Pablo Carreño Busta in the next match as Nadal called it a tournament after his loss to Goffin. He survived that match leaving the showdown between Thiem and Goffin in a winner-take-all affair for the final spot in the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals. The Austrian put up a dud as Goffin cruised to the semifinals before eventually making the final.

Grade: B-

A career-year in Grand Slams and a stellar year on the clay saved what would have been a disappointing season overall for Thiem. It seems that signs of his loss to del Potro are slowly fading away, but a strong start to 2018 is what the Austrian needs to get back on track for another strong season.