Dominic Thiem Battles Past Reigning Australian Open Semifinalist Aslan Karatsev at Qatar Open 2021

Published 03/10/2021, 10:05 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 12, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem during his third round match against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


First seed at ATP Qatar Open 2021, Dominic Thiem outsmarted Australian Open 2021 stalwart Aslan Karatsev in a tough three sets. Thiem took his time to fire up but reached his optimum level quickly. The scorecard read- 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

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Karatsev rose to fame after reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open 2021 on his Grand Slam debut. He proved it was no fluke reaching the last fur of the Major by giving the World No.4 a tough fight.

Dominic Thiem celebrates after winning his third-round match against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Cagey First Set between Dominic Thiem and Aslan Karatsev

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Both the players were disciplined in the opening set. Karatsev was having issues with his service early on as he targeted Thiem’s one-handed backhand. And what surprised Thiem was Karatsev’s backhand. The Russian was able to find extreme angles with his strokes. The ball pitched very low, right on the edge of the service box multiple times to trouble Thiem.

As the first set went on, both the players improved their service. Neither got a sniff of a breakpoint in the first set. The rallies were shorter initially, and at 3-3, it was clear that Thiem’s plan of playing Karatsev at the net was failing. In fact, Karatsev was pushing Thiem further away from the baseline.

At 5-4, with Thiem serving, Karatsev produced a stunning tweener that got the approval of Thiem.

The set eventually went into a tiebreaker and Thiem initially took a 3-0 lead. That lead stretched to 5-2 but courtesy of some backhand mistakes from Thiem, and Karatsev targeting his second serve, the Russian won five points in a row to win the first set.

Dominic Thiem’s comeback

Like in the first set, Karatsev had issues with his first service game. Two double faults and he stared at two breakpoints. Thiem converted those points to lead 2-0. The Austrian was giving more topspin from his forehand side and fixed his passing shots to take a 4-1 lead in the set.

A relative improvement from Karatsev in his serve and forehand saw him make a small comeback in the match. The Russian saw his first breakpoint of the match, trailing 4-2 in the second set. But Thiem saved the two break points to lead 5-2. Thiem’s forehand was flying as he closed the second set to level the match.

Dominic Thiem’s dominance in the third set

Karatsev’s erratic starts cost him again as he was broken in the first game of the deciding set. The Russian was exerting a lot more than the Austrian, which played in the hands of Thiem. Soon enough, Thiem’s serve was becoming untouchable. With a wide serve-forehand winner combo, he took an unassailable lead of 4-1.

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Karatsev was running out of ideas and quickly, Thiem went through his service game leading at 5-2 and thus finished the match– 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.

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4 months ago

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Bhavishya Mittal

1084 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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