Tennis

Antwerp | Thiem keeps improving

For the second time in a week, Dominic Thiem defeated Francisco Cerundolo, this time to reach the quarter finals of the European Open in Antwerp.

That’s why I work hard every day, to be able after two hours with a very close score, to play good shots, to play good tennis Dominic Thiem

Last week the Austrian beat the Argentinian in straight sets to reach the Gijon Open semi-finals but not so in Antwerp where he was extended to three before advancing into the last eight.

Thiem was made to work hard for his 6-1 1-6 7-5 victory who, after a blistering start, found himself on the wrong side of a similar scoreline in the second leaving the third to decide the outcome.

And it was the 24-year-old from Buenos Aires who looked set to avenge that Gijon loss when he strode into a 4-3 lead in that decider but then the former world No.3 and US Open champion, struck back to win four of the next five games to claim the quarter final place and a meeting with the top seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

After fighting his way to a very satisfactory victory, Thiem said:

“That’s why I work hard every day, to be able after two hours with a very close score, to play good shots, to play good tennis, because that is when it matters most. At 6-5 in the third, you have to come up with good tennis to be able to bring the match over the finish line, and luckily today it was my turn.”

He acknowledges that his next match will be much tougher and he will have to try and regain some of that form that took him to the top echelons of the game before he suffered that wrist injury which side-lined him for some 10 months,

“For two years he has been [one of] the world’s best, especially indoors,” Thiem added. “Unbelievable serve, we just played three or four weeks ago in Metz, where he had a pretty easy win against me, and I hope I can make it more difficult for him tomorrow and be able to make another step ahead.”

In other action Felix Auger-Aliassime – who is the second seed in Belgium – has also booked his place in the next round with a straightforward 6-3 6-3 victory over the French Lucky Loser, Manuel Guinard striking 11 aces in the process.

Third seed Diego Schwartzman however, is out after being beaten in straight sets by Belgium’s David Goffin 7-6(3) 6-2 who progresses to face the French veteran Richard Gasquet, a 7-6(6) 7-5 winner over the Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker.

Meanwhile Sebastian Korda, last week’s beaten Gijon finalist, continued his good form to make it through into the last eight in the hope of making his fourth final of the season.

The American progressed past the Muscovite Karen Khachanov after saving four set points in the second set tiebreak, 7-5 7-6(9) to face Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, the eighth seed and 6-1 7-6(3) winner over Spain’s Jaume Munar.

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