Thiem Survives Cilic In Montreal To Extend Winning Streak
Austrian saves all nine break points
It wasn’t easy but fleet of foot, caressed groundstroke winners at close quarters and match sharpness proved to be the difference for Dominic Thiem on Thursday when he negotiated a tough test against Marin Cilic at the Coupe Rogers.
Thiem stared down all nine break points he faced — four at 3-3 in the first set and five in the second set at 0-1 (three) and 5-4 (two) — to win 7-6(7), 6-4 over one hour and 53 minutes for a place in the third round.
Clever changes of pace and aggressive ball-striking from Cilic kept Thiem on his toes, but in the first set tie-break featuring two momentum shifts, it was the Austrian’s consistency that was decisive.
Having recovered from 15/40 in his first service game of the second set, Thiem pounced with terrific length on his groundstroke returns and broke for a 2-1 advantage with a fine cross-court forehand winner in the service that left Cilic flat-footed at the net. Later, at 5-4, he weathered another storm from 15/40 and closed out his 31st win of 2019 on his fourth match point.
Second seed Thiem, who had gone 0-5 in previous appearances at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Canada, is building up a head of steam ahead of his quarter-final against eighth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, who knocked out Cristian Garin of Chile 6-3, 6-3 in 70 minutes. Both Thiem and Medvedev are bidding to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. Thiem leads 2-0 in their FedEx ATPHead2Head series.
The 25-year-old Thiem is now six matches unbeaten, which includes his 14th ATP Tour title last week at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel (d. Ramos-Vinolas). In March, soon after beginning his partnership with coach Nicolas Massu, Thiem captured his first Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (d. Federer).
Cilic, the No. 14 seed, who has recently begun working with former World No. 6 Wayne Ferreira, continues to rebuild his confidence after a right injury earlier in the season and is 15-12 overall this year.