World number four Dominic Thiem plays rival and 2018 Madrid Open winner Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the 2021 Madrid Open on Saturday, May 8. Get the live streaming options of this Dominic Thiem v Alexander Zverev match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Dominic Thiem v Alexander Zverev Head to Head
The players have met ten times on the tour already, with Thiem leading the head-to-head 8-2, including the epic 2020 US Open final. They met in the final of the Madrid Masters in 2018, with Zverev winning in straight sets.
Thiem Pushed, But Increasing In Confidence Every Match
Once titled the ‘Prince of Clay’, Dominic Thiem was a finalist at the Madrid Open Masters 1000 in 2017 and 2018 to Rafa Nadal and Alexander Zverev respectively. Hailed as the successor to Nadal on clay and a two-time French Open finalist in 2018 and 2019, the clay success has not quite come for Thiem as one expected.
However, he has established himself as a force on hard courts as well winning the Indian Wells Masters 1000 in 2019 and his first ever Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2020. Additionally, Thiem was also runner-up in 2019 and 2020 on the indoor hard courts of the O2 arena at the ATP Tour Finals, as well as holding a formidable record against the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the faster surfaces.
Coming into 2021, with the monkey off his back (of winning his first Major title), Thiem was expected to be one of the players to watch out for, along with Daniil Medvedev and both billed as potential challengers to the Big Three at the Majors. However, 2021 thus far has not been friendly to the Austrian.
A slow start at the ATP Cup was followed by an under par performance at the Aussie Open that saw his lose straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov in the roundof 16, including a 0-6 third set. Thiem was unable to get going in any of the tournaments that followed, including Doha and Dubai and took a six week break from the tour citing mental and physical struggles around the pandemic, bubbles, foot issues and all the effort to win a major title for the first time.
Thiem returned to the tour this week in Madrid and after a first round bye has progressively improved. A smooth win again American Giron was followed by a more challenging encounter against Aussie Alex Di Minaur which he won in two tight sets sealing a quarter-final spot against John Isner.
The big serving Isner has been on a run this week defeating Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev and was not going to be an easy opponent for Thiem, given how well he has been serving. Isner was off the blocks quick and broke the Austrian to take the first set 6-3. Thiem was under pressure in the second facing break points down 2-3, but did well to hold on and break the American to level the match at one set all.
It was a close fought third set, with the big Isner serve coming to the rescue every time Thiem looked like breaking through. Just as it looked like a tiebreak was inevitable, Thiem broke the American and served out the match 6-4 and he is back in the final four looking confident again.
Zverev In Midst Of Excellent Week
After an up and down last couple seasons and a 0-3 record at the ATP Cup in 2020, Alexander Zverev led the German charge into the semi-finals of this year’s ATP Cup. It was followed by a decent Aussie Open run that fell short in the final eight against Novak Djokovic. And, Zverev was on bit of a high when he registered a straight-set win over arch-rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Acapulco Open, winning his first title of the season in the process.
Since then, however, his form has taken bit of a beating and he is looking to get back into the reckoning for Roland-Garros. With losses to Ilya Ivasha in Munich and David Goffin in Monte Carlo, the clay season did not start well for the German and he is hoping the Madrid & Rome Masters 1000s, both which he has won before turn that around.
Zverev has had his hands full this week in terms of quality of opponents facing Kei Nishikori and Dan Evans but has prevailed and looked in good touch and grown in form and confidence.
Coming into the final eight against Nadal, he was on a two match winning streak against the Spaniard but both on the faster hard courts with Nadal still the obvious favorite on clay. The match was off to an expected start with Nadal looking solid and up a break 4-2. However, Zverev hit good form right thereafter and pressurized Nadal from the back of the court for two consecutive breaks to seal the opening set 6-4.
A similar trend continued in the second and Zverev broke once early and continued to serve well for a 6-4 second set and a first ever win against the King of Clay setting up a repeat semi-final of the 2018 Madrid Open final.
Thiem v Zverev Prediction and Tip
This promises to be another exciting encounter between these two rivals and friends. While on clay, Thiem would be a strong favorite, he is not at his best yet and Zverev has looked sharp all week and more so with the win against Nadal in the final eight.
A tight contest on the cards with the better player on the day to win in a decider. Expect Thiem to push further for his first Masters 1000 title on clay and being a finalist in Madrid again.