Dominic Thiem Squanders Two Sets Lead, Loses in 1st Round Shocker Against Pablo Andujar at French Open 2021

Published 05/30/2021, 11:57 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem reacts during his fourth round match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


World number four Dominic Thiem, who made a comeback after a brief hiatus from competitive tennis at the Madrid Open last month, suffered to find peak form in the three tournaments he played on clay this year.

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Even though the Austrian reached the semi-finals at Madrid Masters, he was outpowered by Alexander Zverev in straight sets. Later, the Austrian played the events at Rome and Lyon, only to be ousted in the initial rounds by Lorenzo Sonego and Cameron Norrie.

As a result of these consistent failures, Dominic Thiem enters the French Open with fewer expectations than before. The Austrian had a tough first-round opponent in Pabl0 Andujar. The Spaniard, who defeated Roger Federer in his comeback tournament at Geneva, is playing excellent tennis on clay.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his quarter final match against John Isner of the U.S. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Dominic Thiem lost  a five-set thriller against Pablo Andujar at French Open 2021

While the Austrian entered the match as the favorite, Andujar made it clear that he shouldn’t be taken lightly right from the word go. The first two sets were extremely tight. But, Thiem used his big-match experience to clinch both sets with a narrow margin.

Something was amiss from Thiem as he failed to maintain consistency throughout the match. If he wins a long rally, he lost the immediate point with an unexpected error. This gave an advantage to Andujar to slowly crawl his way back to the match.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his third round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

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As the Austrian’s form started to decline in the middle of the third set, the Spaniard shifted gears and played aggressive tennis from the baseline. Andujar also used the drop shots to good effect.

By pushing Thiem from one corner to the other, the Spaniard ensured complete control of longer rallies and won the third set, 6-3. The Austrian looked exhausted at the end of that set, and the same pattern continued in the fourth.

The momentum was with Andujar in the fourth set. He managed to break Dominic Thiem twice in the set, but the Austrian began to find his range and started to dictate longer rallies. Even though he lost the set, the Austrian found the right energy needed to win the fifth set.

The first few games in the fifth set was a roller-coaster ride with enthralling rallies between the two player. However, it was the Spaniard who drew the first blood by breaking Thiem in the second game. But, the Austrian broke back immediately to keep the set on-serve.

A couple of games into the fifth set, Thiem lost his service game yet again as the Spaniard’s relentless returns of serve did enough damage. The Austrian stopped getting quick points on his serve, and this increased the pressure even more.

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With a 5-4 lead in the fifth, Andujar made quick work of Thiem, and dominated the rallies long enough to gift himself two match points. The Spaniard finished the match in style with a forehand winner close to the net, and defeated the Austrian 4-6,5-7,6-3,6-4,6-4 in 4hours and 28 minutes.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

194 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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