Dominic Thiem knows how tricky Grigor Dimitrov is, a couple of years ago the Bulgarian defeated Roger Federer in five sets at Flushing Meadows. 6 weeks or so later he pummelled the Austrian at the Paris Indoors Masters in a performance I said was better and felt more poignant so the danger signs were there.
Coming into the Australian Open on the back of a relatively lacklustre run of performances at the ATP Cup I said he has a lot to build on, Thiem looked a little jaded and maybe not having Nicolas Massu here has been a big factor for the US Open champion but his run has now come to an end.
Take nothing at all away from Grigor Dimitrov, the Bulgarian played a stunning match and on Tuesday will bid for a place in his second Australian Open semi-final against qualifier Aslan Karatsev.
Dimitrov is a very good player, he brings his game together well and utilises his skills and his slice in particularly to perfection and this was something Thiem didn’t react too as he didn’t in Paris a couple of years back.
One thing I did not understand was Thiem’s return of serve..
In the next frame you will see the speed of the serve change, the serve from Dimitrov was only 95mph and before the ball had even left the racket area of Dominic Thiem you can see the Bulgarian doing those side steps into the backhand corner to unleash the forehand cross court or down the line.
The option was there for Thiem to either use his backhand down the line instead of slicing or run around the forehand, the serve came in at 95mph which is fast but he just wasn’t prepared.
You cans see the speed has changed to 154kph which is 95mph. Thiem has done pretty much nothing but move half a metre and has put himself in trouble in that no mans land position. It’s an open invitation for Dimitrov to go either cross court or up the line. He went up the line and found a way from 3-1 to 4-4.
This play was a problem in Paris and London a couple of years back, he doesn’t seem to pull his return game together against the Bulgarian. The slice plays into his hands and it showed again and credit to Grigor.
The first two sets did start of well for Dominic who took a 3-1 lead on serve in the opening two but completely threw it away, on both occasions he handed the Bulgarian his “Get out of Jail free card” if this were a game of monopoly. 1-3 down in first two sets and then won both 6-4 6-4.
The third set was a bit of a run away. Grigor Dimitrov pressed the accelerator and in little over 2 hours saw off Dominic Thiem 6-4 6-4 6-0 leaving the Austrian with plenty to think about. Did the match against Kyrgios tire him out?