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Thiem vs Munar tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Thiem beat Munar in Barcelona last year, but the young Spaniard is improving

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 25 Apr 2019
  • Dominic Thiem faces Jaume Munar in the round of 16 at the Barcelona Open
  • Thiem vs Munar is live from Barcelona on Thursday at 12.30pm local/11.30am BST
Dominic Thiem (PA Sport)

Third seed Dominic Thiem faces the improving Jaume Munar, looking for his second top-10 win on clay, in the third round of the Barcelona Open. 

In a rematch of last year’s second-round clash, Dominic Thiem takes on Jaume Munar for a place in the quarterfinals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Thursday.

Dominic Thiem (PA Sport)
World no. 5 Thiem is looking to make the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open for the third time, after having made the final of the 500-level event in 2017 (losing to Rafael Nadal) and being defeated by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2018 quarterfinals.

Thiem is also looking for his second clay-court ATP quarterfinal of 2019, after having reached the semifinals of the Argentina Open in what was a modest Golden Swing for him, thanks to a first-round defeat at the Rio Open by Laslo Djere. The big result of the Austrian’s season so far came, of course, on the hard courts of the Indian Wells Masters where Thiem defeated Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem on his way to a first Masters 1000 Series title, a triumphant beginning to his partnership with coach Nicolas Massu.

The whole point of starting to work with Massu was for Thiem to find a way to bring the levels of success he has enjoyed on clay courts on to hard courts – but not for his clay results to suffer as a result. A 3-6, 3-6 defeat to Dusan Lajovic in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week was not in the script, even if Lajovic did play a superb match and went on to reach the final.

Thiem has never played particularly well at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, however, and he has an opportunity to steady the ship at the Barcelona Open this week. The third seed made a good start when he defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday. Schwartzman is, of course, an excellent clay-court player, a quarterfinalist at the French Open and Rio Open champion last year, but he has been struggling for wins recently and hasn’t won back-to-back matches since reaching the Argentina Open final in February. He also failed to enter the Barcelona Open on time, meaning that he had to play his way through qualifying despite being ranked world no. 25, and lashed out at the scheduling on Twitter – none of it perfect preparation for facing an opponent of Thiem’s quality, and the match was not pretty for Schwartzman supporters, with the Argentine broken six times and winning only three service games throughout the 88-minute match.

But he did also break Thiem’s serve three times, and all in all it wasn’t a stunning performance from the Austrian, who will have to raise his game if he wants to make it back to the Barcelona Open final (something which would in any case almost certainly involve trying to find a way past 11-time champion Nadal).

Next up for Thiem in Barcelona is Jaume Munar, one of only two Spanish players under the age of 30 to be ranked inside the top 100 (the other, Pablo Carreno Busta, is 27 and hardly qualifies as a leader of the youth movement).

Jaume Munar (PA Sport)
Attempting to follow in the footsteps of a generation which included Nadal, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez and Roberto Bautista Agut is going to be no easy task for Munar. 

The 21-year-old has never been higher than his current ranking of world no. 57, having initially broken into the top 100 last summer after winning the Prostejov and Caltanissetta Challengers back-to-back and going on to make his first ATP Tour semifinal in Kitzbuhel.

Munar has already made five ATP Tour quarterfinals in 2019, all but one of them (the Maharashtra Open in January) on clay: Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Marrakech. In the process, he’s had some good wins, beating last year’s French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato in Cordoba, Fabio Fognini in Buenos Aires and getting the first top-10 win of his career over Alexander Zverev in Marrakech, 7-6(1), 2-6, 6-3, although a rather limp defeat to eventual champion Benoit Paire did follow.

Defeated by Borna Coric in thee incredibly tight sets at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week, Munar has already won back-to-back matches in Barcelona, beating qualifier Pedro Sousa and then 14th seed Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3 to make the round of 16.

He’s had some good wins lately and should not be underestimated ahead of Thursday’s match with Thiem, which is a rematch of a second-round duel in Barcelona last year when Munar came very close to snatching the first set before losing it in a tight tie-break and struggling in a one-sided second set, 6-7(8), 1-6. Thiem is really going to have to lift his recent level if he is to avoid being dragged to three by a talented young Spaniard eager to get another big win in front of his home crowd, or even losing the match and the chance to make the quarterfinals.

Thiem vs Munar Barcelona Open tennis is live on Thursday at 12.30pm local/11.30am BST

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Thiem vs Munar tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Thiem beat Munar in Barcelona last year, but the young Spaniard is improving

Dominic Thiem vs Jaume Munar live streaming, preview and predictions for the Barcelona Open third-round match on Thursday 25 April: Third seed Thiem must lift his recent level if he is to avoid an upset at the hands of rising Munar, who recently got his first top-10 win on clay

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