April 29, 2019
Dominic Thiem is clearly a serious contender for Roland Garros once more.
He didn’t just win Barcelona – he took the trophy in some style.
We did say watch out for Thiem when the fun started on clay. And he is already showing why!
No one can say he didn’t deserve it in Catalonia. A 6-4, 6-4 victory over the great Rafael Nadal was followed by an even more emphatic 6-4, 6-0 win over the talented Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Last year Thiem made it all the way to the French Open showpiece, only to be overwhelmed in straight sets by Nadal.
This year could be different if he carries on like this. A year older and wiser, Thiem would be less overawed at the prospect of winning his first Grand Slam if he earns himself another chance.
And crucially, the likeable Austrian says he learns every time he plays Nadal, Djokovic or Federer. On his day, he is capable of beating any of them.
He is getting used to that winning feeling.
Only a few weeks ago Thiem won his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells. A different surface, but further evidence that his psychological strength is growing.
Add that to a complete game and you have a phenomenal all-round force in the making, at the age of just 25.
Expect Rafa to display even more power at Roland Garros, his spiritual home. It is the place where he always seems to turn into a super-hero.
But time is not necessarily on Nadal’s side, whereas Thiem knows he is close to reaching his peak.
There could be an incredible five-set epic between the two at the next Slam.
Meanwhile Petra Kvitova became the first woman to win two titles when she took Stuttgart by storm.
The two-time Wimbledon champion defeated Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to add to her Sydney International triumph back in January.
Kvitova slipped 1-3 behind in the second set against the Estonian, but then moved back up a gear and never looked back.
Amazingly, until then, all eighteen WTA titles in 2019 had been won by different women. Sounds impossible doesn’t it?
But Kvitova has shown more consistency than that statistic suggests. She reached the Australian Open final, only to be defeated by Naomi Osaka, and she was a finalist in Dubai too.
So the 29-year-old Czech must surely be in the mix come Roland Garros – and Wimbledon too, for that matter.
The clay is already hotting up nicely. The climax in Paris should be quite something.
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