Thiem saves match point to seal 2nd-round victory

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DominicThiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco yesterday.
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DOMINIC Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco yesterday.

Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.

The Austrian was 40-15 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.

“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”

Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match today. Former No. 1 Djokovic had brushed aside Serbian compatriot Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-1 on Monday.

“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.

The 24-year-old Thiem could also have to face champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals if he can get past Djokovic or the in-form Coric.

“It’s a horrible draw for sure, from the first round on,” conceded Thiem.

In the second round later in the day, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille, also of France, played Germany’s Mischa Zverev.

In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

Meanwhile, Jared Donaldson has been fined 5,000 euros (US$6,200) for unsportsmanlike conduct after angrily ranting at the chair umpire during his first-round loss to Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Monte Carlo.

The American became irate with a call when Ramos-Vinolas was serving at 3-2, 40-0 in the second set on Monday. Donaldson thought the serve was out and pointed to the ground, shouting, “There’s a mark right here,” and then screaming the same words in the face of French umpire Arnaud Gabas.

He then squared up to Gabas and shouted: “Yes it is, yeah it is,” as he insisted his mark was right and the umpire’s call of in was wrong.

Donaldson, who yelled again at Gabas before the supervisor came on, received a code violation. He lost 3-6, 3-6.


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