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Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Carreno Busta Rio Open tennis live: Thiem looking for second ATP 500 title in Rio

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 26 Feb 2017
  • Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Carreno Busta is live from Rio on Sunday
  • Thiem has won all three of their previous meetings
Dominic Thiem (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Back on his beloved clay, second seed Dominic Thiem targets a first ATP World Tour title in seven months when he takes on consistent Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the Rio Open final on Sunday.





It’s been a challenging last few months on tour for Dominic Thiem, but the top 10 youngster from Austria has a great opportunity to land a second ATP 500 title on the clay of Rio de Janeiro. He will take on Pablo Carreno Busta for the silverware, who is looking to claim a third career ATP title after saving a match point in in the semi-finals. Two fantastic clay court players collide in what should be a great Rio Open final.

Relentless in his pursuit to seemingly play as much tennis as humanly possible, Thiem has certainly achieved that goal this week in Rio in securing his spot in the final. Making the quick transition from the indoor hardcourts of Rotterdam (where he lost in the quarter-finals to qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert), Thiem has advanced into the Rio final without relinquishing a set.

The 23-year-old has returned to some of his best form in Rio, coming through the likes of Janko Tipsarevic, Dusan Lajovic and Diego Schwartzman before producing a tremendous display to topple Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1 6-4 in Saturday’s semi-finals. Thiem blasted 21 winners and benefitted from an erratic showing from Ramos-Vinolas, who committed 32 unforced errors, to win in one hour and 22 minutes.

Live Stream: ATP Rio de Janeiro final tennis live!

Despite a pretty poor beginning to the season prior to Rio, Thiem believes he is a better player than last season, when he won four ATP titles, reached his first grand slam semi-final at Roland Garros and cracked the top 10.

"I'm really happy this week," said Thiem. "I raised my game with every match. I'm happy to be back on clay in general, and I honestly didn't expect the transition to go so fast. I think I'm a better player than I was last year, so we'll see how the final will go tomorrow."

Thiem can keep his spot in the top 10 if he emerges with the title on Sunday. Standing in his way is a man who is steadily improving each year and is on the brink of forcing his way into the top 20.



Pablo Carreno Busta (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

While Thiem has cruised into the final, it’s been a very different story for Pablo Carreno Busta. The Spaniard, after beating Joao Souza 6-3 6-2 in his opener, was extended to three sets by Quito champion Victor Estrella Burgos in the second round and split two tiebreaks with Buenos Aires champion Alexandr Dolgopolov before the Ukrainian retired injured early in the decider.

Carreno Busta then survived an almighty scare in the semi-finals, saving a match point and staging a fantastic comeback to end the dream run of rising teenager Casper Ruud of Norway. Ruud led 6-2 4-2 before Carreno Busta broke back to level the scores and was also forced to save a match point while serving at 4-5 before ultimately reeling off 11 of the last 12 games to come away with a 2-6 7-5 6-0 victory. The win propels Carreno Busta into his first ever ATP 500 final.

Since making the biggest jump out of any player into the top 100 back in 2013 (650 places), Carreno Busta has been enjoying a gradual rise through the ranks. Last year was easily the best of his career, with Carreno Busta winning his first two ATP titles at Winston-Salem and Moscow, while he also made two further finals at Sao Paolo and Estori, the semi-finals at Los Cabos and quarter-finals at Quito, Marrakech, Geneva, Umag and Beijing. The 25-year-old is already up to a career-high ranking of No. 23 and can move to within just 50 points of the top 20 if he can upset Thiem for the Rio title.

Thiem has defeated Carreno Busta in all three of their tour-level meetings, including twice last year in Buenos Aires and the US Open - however Carreno Busta has taken a set in all three of those clashes. One factor that may or may not have an impact on the final is that Carreno Busta also played doubles after his singles semi-final, and combined with his tougher matches throughout the week, he could be feeling a little fatigued on Sunday. Thiem is a genuine force on clay and has heavier/more penetrating groundstrokes than his Spanish opponent. I think the Austrian can win in straight sets and take home his first title of 2017.


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Dominic Thiem vs Pablo Carreno Busta Rio Open tennis live: Thiem looking for second ATP 500 title in Rio

Back on his beloved clay, second seed Dominic Thiem targets a first ATP World Tour title in seven months when he takes on consistent Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the Rio Open final on Sunday.

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