2015 has been a very good year for Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem. Both have won titles on the tour this year and achieved career high rankings with Anderson currently at 12 in the world Thiem at 19. It’s that time of the year when awards are given out on the tour and both of these players should be in the running for the award of most improved on the tour.
This will be the fourth time they meet on the tour and second time this year with Kevin winning all three of their meetings in straight sets and recently defeated the Austrian in New York at the US Open winning 6-3 7-6 7-6.
Dealing with the serve of Kevin Anderson is very tough. If there are two surfaces you’d hate to face the serve of Anderson on they are probably grass court and an indoor hard court which is what Thiem has to face in Paris. All three of their meetings have been on hard courts which Thiem is good on so I am a little surprised he has never got a set off the South African.
Watching their match in New York quite a few of the returns of serve from Thiem were sliced which I think is a good way to return the serve however there is sometimes a problem with this.
The slice return is good as long as you get good depth on the return of serve. The red box shows where abouts the ball was landing and it was short allowing Anderson to move up the court and go for the forehand to either side leaving Thiem a bit flat footed in the middle of the court whereas move depth would force Anderson backwards and maybe force him to play a defensive shot rather than getting on the attack quite quickly.
It will be the battle of the forehands as well with both very strong off this side. Kevin’s is more a measured shot and relies on having time to pick his shots and usually follows in at the net to finish the point where as Dominic’s forehand is a bit more instinctive and is sometimes completely out of the blue! He has the ability from a defensive or attacking position to flick the ball cross court for a winner.
I’m really interested in this match, despite a 3-0 record for Anderson without a set dropped I just have a feeling that Thiem could produce some spectacular. I saw quite a bit of his match against Mannarino where he played well hitting 15 winners off the forehand which was dangerous throughout the match.