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Thiem vs Medvedev ATP Barcelona live streaming, preview and tips - Thiem targets first big European clay title in Barcelona

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 28 Apr 2019
  • Dominic Thiem vs Daniil Medvedev is live from Barcelona at 4.00pm local time on Sunday (3.00pm BST)
  • Thiem won their only previous clash in three sets in last year's St. Petersburg semi-finals
Dominic Thiem (PA Images)

Dominic Thiem targets his first European clay title above 250 level when he takes on the in-form Daniil Medvedev in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell final on Sunday.

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After conquering the King of Clay in the semi-finals, can Dominic Thiem cap an excellent week in Barcelona by winning his biggest European clay title to date? He will have to overcome Daniil Medvedev, the rising Russian who has won more matches than anyone else in 2019 when the pair square off in what promises to be a blockbuster final on Sunday.

The only man to have beaten Rafael Nadal on clay in each of the last two seasons, Thiem was always going to a dangerous proposition for the 11-time Barcelona Open champion in the semi-finals, and the Austrian once again proved his mettle on the surface, handing the Spaniard his first ever defeat in the semi-finals of his home tournament, producing a phenomenal display of aggressiveness as he overpowered Nadal for a 6-4 6-4 victory. Thiem’s muscular and bludgeoning groundstrokes proved too much for Nadal to handle in what was a rematch of last year’s French Open final, with Thiem snapping Nadal’s 18-match winning streak at the tournament in emphatic style. It was also Nadal’s first loss in 22 matches in either Barcelona semis or finals.

“I'm always super proud if I beat him because he's the best player ever on this surface, and it's always very special to beat him here on clay. We always had great matches in the past, and also today was very good and I was more lucky today and I got the win,” Thiem said.

Thiem has now defeated Nadal on clay in each of the last four seasons and has once again reminded everyone of how he’s been the stand-out second best player on clay for the last couple of years.

It’s been an up-and-down season for Thiem in 2019, but after his start to the year was disrupted due to illness, he’s starting to hit top gear. Linking up with new coach Nicolas Massu, Thiem won his first Masters 1000 title on the hardcourts of Indian Wells in March, defeating Roger Federer in the final, and if he can come away with the Barcelona title on Sunday, he’s got to be considered as a genuine chance to win his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros (even if he doesn’t, cruising past Nadal in the fashion he did is big statement regardless).

Thiem has improved his results each season at the big tournaments on European clay, making the Rome Masters quarter-finals and French Open semi-finals in 2016 to first break into the top 10, while he made his first Masters 1000 final in Madrid and the semi-finals at Rome and Roland Garros the following season. Thiem then made the Madrid final once more last season (losing to Alexander Zverev) before advancing to his first Grand Slam final at the French Open, where he went down to Nadal. Is he ready to win his first European clay title above 250 level on Sunday in Barcelona?


He’ll start favourite, but Daniil Medvedev is in the form of his life and is more than capable of stopping the Austrian on Sunday. Nobody has won more hardcourt matches than Medvedev since the start of 2018, but the Russian is swiftly making his mark on clay, a surface he was 2-11 on before arriving in Monte-Carlo last week. Medvedev stepped up and scored the biggest win of his career to beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to make his first Masters 1000 semi-final, and he’s gone one round further this week in Barcelona, conquering Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Mackenzie McDonald and Nicolas Jarry before edging Kei Nishikori 6-4 3-6 7-5 in one of the best matches of the season in Saturday’s semi-finals. It was a war of attrition from the baseline as Medvedev and Nishikori refused to miss, but it was the Russian who was more steadier when it mattered most, coming back from a break down in the decider to reach his first clay final.

"It almost [slipped]. He was up a break in the third and I felt that I lost the momentum. The match was going away from me," Medvedev said. "I'm really happy that I managed to hold my nerves, to try to come back, and I managed to come back. I'm just happy to be in the final."

Ranked No. 68 in the world in August last season, Medvedev has sky-rocketed into the top 15 after a stellar run of form, highlighted by winning the biggest title of his career at the 500-level Japan Open in Tokyo last year (beating Nishikori again in the final), while he also won 250 crowns in Sydney and Winston-Salem. The 23-year-old has taken his game to another level in 2019, posting a tour-leading 25-7 record, winning his fourth career title in Sofia, finishing runner-up in Brisbane, making the semi-finals of Monte-Carlo and Rotterdam and the fourth rounds of the Australian Open and Miami. With barely any points to defend for the rest of the clay season, Medvedev seems destined for the top 10 sooner rather than later if he keeps up this sort of form.

Thiem and Medvedev have played once before, with Thiem prevailing in a deciding set tiebreak in the semi-finals of St. Petersburg last year as the Austrian went on to win the title on indoor hardcourts. Obviously clay suits Thiem much better for this match-up, but Medvedev has transformed into a defensive beast to compliment his somewhat unorthodox style. The Russian’s backhand is his major strength, and if he can get himself into backhand to backhand exchanges with Thiem, he’ll fancy himself. However, I think Thiem’s forehand is a bigger weapon, and if the Austrian can reproduce his level from yesterday against Nadal, I think he’ll have too much firepower for his younger rival. It’s time for Thiem to land himself his first big clay court title in Barcelona on Sunday.


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Thiem vs Medvedev ATP Barcelona live streaming, preview and tips - Thiem targets first big European clay title in Barcelona

Dominic Thiem targets his first European clay title above 250 level when he takes on the in-form Daniil Medvedev in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell final on Sunday.

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