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Federer vs Thiem ATP Madrid Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Federer faces tough Thiem test in Indian Wells final rematch

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 9 May 2019
  • Roger Federer vs Dominic Thiem is live from Madrid on Friday, 10 May from 5:00pm local time/ 4:00pm BST
  • Thiem leads the head-to-head 3-2
Roger Federer. (Photo by Alter Photos/Sipa USA)

Roger Federer faces his biggest test yet since his return to clay when he takes on Barcelona champion, Dominic Thiem in the quarter finals of the Madrid Open on Friday.

Playing his first clay-court tournament since May 2016, Federer eased his way back onto the surface with a very comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory over Richard Gasquet, but he was made to work a lot harder by Gael Monfils in the third round, with the Swiss needing to save two match points before pulling off a hard-earned 6-0 4-6 7-6 victory.

Federer made a blistering start to the match, wrapping up the first set to love after just 18 minutes, but Monfils responded with an early break in the second set, and despite being broken back, the Frenchman broke in the tenth game to force a decider. Both men exchanged breaks in the final set, with Federer once again fighting back from a break down, but the great Swiss then had to save two match points on his serve at 5-6, before dominating the tie break to record a landmark 1200th tour-level victory. The 37-year-old becomes just the second man in the Open Era, after Jimmy Connors (1,274) to reach that milestone.

The three-time Madrid Open champion is on course for a fourth consecutive final on the ATP Tour, having made finals in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. He won titles in Dubai and Miami, and was runner-up at Indian Wells, where he was beaten by Friday’s opponent, Thiem.

The great Swiss had opened the season with a disappointing fourth-round exit at the Australian Open, losing in four sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas, but his response has been magnificent, winning 17 of his next 18 matches. Thursday’s victory over Monfils in Madrid moved him to 20 match wins in 2019.

Federer is into the Madrid Open quarter finals for the first time since 2012, can he extend his stay in the Spanish capital by taking down Dominic Thiem on Friday?

After a very slow start to the season, Thiem is playing some of his best tennis at the moment, and he is looking in very fine fettle as the clay-court season approaches its climax. The Austrian is currently on seven match winning streak, having won five matches in a superb run to the Barcelona Open title, and recorded two more wins in Madrid. He encountered some trouble against giant American, Reilly Opelka in his Madrid opener, as he dropped the opening set on a tie break, but he fought back to take the second, before moving on when the big-serving American retired hurt while trailing 1-0 in the deciding set. The Austrian then came through a tricky third round meeting with Fabio Fognini, winning 6-4 7-5 to move past the Monte Carlo champion, who like Thiem, had been playing some excellent tennis on the clay, and had beaten Nadal in a marquee semi-final on the surface within the last month.

Thiem lost just 12 points on serve in a commendable serving performance, winning 82% of points on his first serve, and 75% on the second. He saved the only break point he faced, and converted two of the five opportunities he carved out on Fognini’s serve. Thiem is through to a third consecutive Madrid Open quarter final, and he will hope to finally go all the way this season having made the final in each of the last two years.

The 25-year-old initially struggled to get off the blocks at the start of the year, opening with a 3-4 record, including an uncharacteristically dismal 2-2 record on South American clay in February, but he sprang to life on the hard courts of Indian Wells, rather surprisingly given his previous troubles on the surface, scoring a terrific win over Federer in the final. Thiem went quiet again in his next two tournaments, winning just one match between Miami and Monte Carlo, but he played some wonderful tennis in Barcelona, beating Diego Schwartzman, Jaume Munar, Guido Pella, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev to win his biggest clay-court title on European soil. He is looking to trump that record in Madrid, where he is after his maiden Masters 1000 title on clay.

Thiem has won three of his five previous matches against Federer, including their only prior encounter on clay at the 2016 Rome Masters- which incidentally was Federer’s last match before his three-year hiatus on the surface. The Austrian has arguably been the second best player on clay behind Rafael Nadal in the last couple of seasons, and he is currently operating at a level very close to his best. If Thiem plays as well as he can, and I see no reason why he shouldn’t, this will be a very difficult match for Federer to win. The Austrian ticks many boxes- he serves well, absolutely muscles the ball from the back of the court, moves well, is cute at the net, and is just a fine all-round player.

Of course, there is none better than Federer when it comes to cuteness and all-round genius, but I think the great man will struggle to cope with the physicality of Thiem on this surface.

Roger Federer vs Dominic Thiem is live from Madrid on Friday, 10 May from 5:00pm local time/ 4:00pm BST

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Federer vs Thiem ATP Madrid Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Federer faces tough Thiem test in Indian Wells final rematch

Roger Federer faces his toughest test yet since his return to clay when he takes on Dominic Thiem in Madrid on Friday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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