A former champion Dominic Thiem will compete in Indian Wells for the first time since winning the title in 2019 after receiving a wild card. The Austrian defeated Roger Federer in the title clash four years ago and will compete again in the desert in March.
Thiem has been struggling with injuries for the last couple of years. A former US Open champion is back inside the top-100, but his season start could have been better. Thiem lost all four matches before earning the first triumph in Buenos Aires this week, beating Alex Molcan in the opening round.
Dominic is excited about returning to Indian Wells, winning his first Masters 1000 crown there four years ago. Thiem’s lone Masters 1000 title came against Roger Federer, with the Austrian beating the Swiss 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and two minutes.
Thiem arrived in Indian Wells with just seven matches that season, struggling with a form and virus that halted his progression in the opening two months.
Dominic Thiem will compete in Indian Wells for the first time in four years.
That changed in the desert, as Thiem became only the seventh different champion at this event since 2002.
The Austrian made the difference in the final with his second serve. However, he had to dig deep to cross the finish line first, repelling nine out of 11 break chances and stealing Roger’s serve three times to emerge at the top.
Dominic knew he had to be aggressive to stand a chance against the opponent who likes to control the pace. He did that with 24 winners and 25 unforced errors on his tally, while Federer counted to 23 winners and 32 mistakes, mostly from his backhand wing.
Thiem had more service winners and forged the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies to cement the triumph and crack the top-4 for the first time on the next day. The Swiss was off to a great start. He broke the Austrian in game two after Thiem’s backhand error and settled into a nice rhythm on serve.
That all changed in game seven when Dominic broke back and gained momentum. Roger stayed focused and kept the pressure on the younger opponent in the next game. Federer converted the fourth break opportunity with a return winner to earn another advantage and move 5-3 up.
The Swiss used this opportunity and closed the opener with a service winner in game nine for 6-3 after 36 minutes. Thiem fended off both break chances at 1-1 in the second set and waited for an opportunity on the return. Roger netted an easy forehand in the next game and allowed Dominic to forge the advantage.
The Austrian blasted four winners on serve to gain a 4-1 lead. Thiem clinched the set in a mighty impressive way after landing four more direct points in game nine for 6-3 and a boost ahead of the decider. The final set saw seven easy holds on both sides before Dominic faced a break point that could have pushed Roger 5-3 up.
The Austrian saved it after forcing Federer’s error and brought the game home with a service winner for 4-4. With momentum on his side, Thiem broke Federer in the 11th game thanks to a forehand crosscourt winner and moved a game away from the most significant title of his career.
Roger’s loose forehand helped Dominic hold at 15 in the 12th game and celebrate the first Masters 1000 crown.
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