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Thiem vs Schwartzman ATP Barcelona Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Thiem aims to bounce back from shock Monte Carlo exit

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 23 Apr 2019
  • Dominic Thiem vs Diego Schwartzman is live from Barcelona on Tuesday, 23 April from 3:30pm local time/ 2:30pm BST
  • Thiem leads 3-2 on head-to-head
Dominic Thiem (PA Sport)

Following his shock early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters, Dominic Thiem attempts to kick-start his clay-court season in Barcelona, where he opens against Argentine qualifier (!), Diego Schwartzman on Tuesday.

In case you are wondering why Schwartzman, the world No. 25, is playing the qualifiers at an ATP 500 event, well, he forgot to sign up for the tournament before the deadline! He would have been seeded had he signed in as at when due. Schwartzman eventually made his way to the main draw after qualifying victories over Jozef Kovalik and Roberto Carballes Baena, but as a further punishment for his aberration, he now runs into the tournament’s third seed, Thiem in the second round!

Thiem has arguably been the second best player on clay over the last couple of years, behind Rafael Nadal, but he has struggled on the surface this year, and brings a very ordinary 3-3 clay-court record into the Barcelona Open. He was 2-2 in South America earlier in the year, and then registered just one win in Monte Carlo before crashing to Dusan Lajovic in the third round.

Lajovic was superb in Monte Carlo, but still, a peak Thiem should be far too strong for the Serbian. Thiem was 5-0 against Lajovic heading into that contest, and after a slow start, he appeared to have regained control when he broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set. Unfortunately, he surrendered the next five games to crash to a very surprising 6-3 6-3 loss.

Thiem has actually had just one good tournament this year, and what a great tournament it was at Indian Wells, where he claimed his maiden Masters 1000 title, beating Roger Federer in the final to cap a memorable week. However, he is just 4-6 for the season outside California, and has won just one match in his two tournaments since that Indian Wells run. That one win was against Martin Klizan in Monte Carlo, before the loss to Lajovic, and after an opening round defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in Miami. 

Through 2019, Thiem failed to cross the opening rounds in Doha, Rio and Miami; lost out in the second round at the Australian Open, while a semi-final in Buenos Aires is slightly misleading as he required just two victories over Maximilian Marterer and Pablo Cuevas to get there. He was beaten by Tuesday's opponent, Schwartzman in the last four.

A title run at Indian Wells has obviously not sparked more consistent successes, at least not yet; can a return to Barcelona, where he was finalist in 2017, inspire another deep run? He faces a difficult opening match against Diego Schwartzman on Tuesday.

After coming through the qualifiers, Schwartzman opened his main draw campaign with a scratchy 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory over Japanese left-hander, Yoshihito Nishioka on Monday, setting up a sixth career meeting with Thiem. 

The Argentine has not been in the best of forms lately, and is seeking consecutive wins for the first time since February's Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. The 26-year-old had enjoyed a solid start to the year, highlighted by a semi-final in Sydney, a third-round run at the Australian Open, and a runner-up finish to Marco Cecchinato in Buenos Aires, but he has won just four matches from his six tournaments since then. He fell in the opening rounds in Rio and Miami, and went just a round better in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Monte Carlo, where he was beaten rather easily by American, Taylor Fritz, who isn't exactly known for his work on clay.

Results haven't quite gone Schwartzman's way lately, but he will remain combative, and will look to cause Dominic Thiem problems on Tuesday. Thiem holds a 3-2 record on head-to-head and has won two of their three meetings on clay, but Schwartzman took their most recent encounter in Buenos Aires earlier this season.

Again, Thiem will try to power through Schwartzman, but the Argentine is rapid around the court, and packs a heavy punch that belies his diminutive stature. I'd say Thiem is the favourite, and will win if he is at his best, but his results from the last couple of tournaments give plenty of room for doubt, and Schwartzman is certainly capable of punishing the Austrian if he fails to perform at a good enough level.

Dominic Thiem vs Diego Schwartzman is live from Barcelona on Tuesday, 23 April from 3:30pm local time/ 2:30pm BST

*Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers with an active balance

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Thiem vs Schwartzman ATP Barcelona Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Thiem aims to bounce back from shock Monte Carlo exit

Dominic Thiem faces a difficult start to his Barcelona campaign as he takes on Diego Schwartzman on Tuesday. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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