June 8, 2018
Dominic Thiem prevailed in a sensational 12-10 tie-break, to open the way to his first major final.
The 24-year-old Austrian managed to keep his head despite missing the simplest of volleys to take the key second set breaker.
Marco Cecchinato came so close to levelling the match. But he seemed to lose heart after the tie-break, so that the third set became a formality, as Thiem won through 7-5, 7-6, 6-1.
Thiem reflected: ‘That second-set tie-break was definitely the key and it wasn’t a nice feeling at all to miss that simple volley at 6-4. He had two or three set points himself, but I was able to take the breaker in the end.
‘Now it will be a question of watching the second semi-final, to study my opponent [either Rafa Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro]. Then I will practise tomorrow to maintain my level, reenergise and then turn on full power for the final.’
Thiem found his reward against Cecchinato for venturing to the net more often. It was a tactic that helped him to command. And some would say he had little choice, given the deft drop shots the Italian produced when his opponent stayed too far behind the baseline.
Dominic was also that little bit more agile, although Cecchinato had his first-set chances too, coming back from 2-4 to lead 5-4, before being overrun.
Perhaps Cecchinato’s epic match against Novak Djokovic – which involved another marathon breaker and became one of the highlights of the entire tournament – took its toll in the end.
But Thiem marches on to the showpiece on Sunday. And it should be no surprise, given that he climbed to world number four at one stage last year and has taken many a big scalp on tour.
Meanwhile Serena Williams’ coach has revealed that the superstar is still on course to play at Wimbledon this year, after she completed her medical examinations.
Patrick Mouratoglou explained: ‘It’s a muscular injury, and if she had continued here, it would probably have become a tear. So in 15 days, it should normally be healed, and she will be able to play again.’
That would give Serena enough time to warm up for Wimbledon on grass. Having won seven singles titles there, she is desperate to try for number eight.
And tennis fans at Wimbledon can’t wait to see what happens!