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Thiem vs Pella ATP Barcelona live streaming, preview and tips - Thiem clashes with in-form Pella for semi-final ticket

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 26 Apr 2019
  • Dominic Thiem vs Guido Pella is live from Barcelona round 5.00pm local time on Friday (4.00pm BST)
  • Their head-to-head is locked at 2-2, but Thiem has won their last two encounters
Dominic Thiem (PA Images)

Dominic Thiem continues his quest for a first Barcelona Open title on Friday when he takes on the in-form Guido Pella in the quarter-finals.

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Indian Wells champion Dominic Thiem has a tough test in the Barcelona Open quarter-finals on Friday against Guido Pella, who is playing the best tennis of his career this season.

After a shock loss to Dusan Lajovic in the Monte-Carlo Masters Round of 16 last week, Thiem has bounced back strongly in Barcelona to reach his third straight quarter-final at the ATP 500 tournament, beating Diego Schwartzman and Jaume Munar - both great clay courters - in straight sets. Rising star Munar put up a good fight in the opening set, but once Thiem claimed the decisive break at 5-5 and serve out the set, it was one-way traffic, with the Austrian cruising through the second set to register a 7-5 6-1 victory in 90 minutes. Thiem is aiming to reach the Barcelona Open final for the second time after he did so in 2017, beating then World No. 1 Andy Murray in the semi-finals before going down to Rafael Nadal, while he was eliminated in the quarter-finals last year by Stefanos Tsitsipas.

After claiming his first Masters 1000 title on the hardcourts of Indian Wells last month, Thiem is trying to secure his first big piece of clay silverware over the coming months in Europe. The Austrian has won eight clay-court titles throughout his career, but only one of them was above 250 level - and that was the the 500 Rio Open - while he’s never won a title above 250 level on European clay. Of course, Nadal basically wins every significant tournament on clay in Europe, but for a player of Thiem’s quality on the surface, it’s still a bit strange to type to say the least.

Nevertheless, 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. The only man to have beaten Nadal on clay in each of the last two seasons, Thiem could land himself a rematch with the King of Clay in the Barcelona semi-finals if both win their quarter-finals on Friday.


However, Thiem cannot afford to underestimate the challenge of Guido Pella. The Argentine is putting together the best season of his career at 28 years of age and has won the most matches on clay out of anyone on tour this year, emerging triumphant in 17 matches on the surface, while he’s won eight more matches overall in 2019 than Thiem, which should indicate just how well and consistency he’s been performing.

Pella didn’t start the season well on hardcourt as he lost in the opening rounds of Auckland and the Australian Open, along with the second round of Doha, but he’s been quite magnificent on clay, winning his maiden ATP World Tour title in Sao Paolo, finishing runner-up in Cordoba, making the semi-finals in Buenos Aires and now reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Pella repeated his Wimbledon shock from last season to conquer Marin Cilic to advance into his maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final in Monte-Carlo, where he pushed Nadal in a tight straight sets loss, while he’s defeated Joao Sousa, Karen Khachanov and Benoit Paire on his way to the last eight in Barcelona, dropping just one set along the way. Pella has worked his way up to a career-high No. 28 in the world courtesy of his results this season, and if he continues this sort of form, it won’t be long to he cracks the top 20.

Pella won his first two matches against Thiem in Rio in 2016 and Chengdu in 2017, but Thiem won both of their meetings at the Australian Open and Buenos Aires last year in straight sets. Thiem has got to start favourite and appears to be finding his groove on clay after a rusty opening tournament in Monte-Carlo, but Pella is playing the best tennis of his life and is competing at a top 10-15 level on clay at the moment. The Argentine’s lefty forehand is firing on all cylinders, and if he plays his best tennis, he has a chance to do some damage to Thiem, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to tip against the Austrian on this surface.


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Thiem vs Pella ATP Barcelona live streaming, preview and tips - Thiem clashes with in-form Pella for semi-final ticket

Dominic Thiem continues his quest for a first Barcelona Open title on Friday when he takes on the in-form Guido Pella in the quarter-finals.

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