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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, October 21, 2022

 
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Dominic Thiem saved three match points toppling top-seed Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6(9), 7-6(4) to reach the European Open semifinals.

Photo credit: European Open Facebook

Champions know failure isn't fatal, it's conviction that counts.

A defiant Dominic Thiem showed the strength of self-belief in Antwerp.

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Teetering on the edge of elimination, Thiem denied three match points in the second-set tiebreaker then delivered timely backhand strikes in the final breaker toppling top-seed Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6(9), 7-6(4) at the European Open.




It was Thiem's first career win over Hurkacz in four career meetings.

The victory vaults Thiem 19 spots in the rankings up to No. 113 in the ATP Live Rankings, within reach of his goal to crack the Top 100 by the end of the season.


“This victory especially is unbelievable because it’s my first victory over an almost-Top 10 guy in my comeback process,” Thiem said. “It was unbelievable to play, a great atmosphere and a great match.”

Spare a thought for the 11th-ranked Pole. Hurkacz, who did not drop serve in this two-hour, 55-minute thriller, hit 11 more winners than Thiem (47 to 36), including smacking 17 aces yet came up slightly short in both breakers.



A gritty win sends Thiem into his second straight semifinal following his run to the Gijon Open final four last week where he fell to eventual-champion Andrey Rublev. 6-4, 6-4.

The 2020 US Open champion will take on American Sebastian Korda for a spot in Sunday's final.

Gijon Open runner-up Korda continued his winning ways crushing eighth-seeded Yoshihito Nishioka 6-0, 6-2.

That was Thiem's first hard-court semifinal since the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals championship match.

Wielding a rebuilt forehand following a lengthy layoff due to a right wrist issue, Thiem believes "I can compete with the best again."

Today, Thiem showed that feeling to be fact summoning bold shotmaking, and some good fortunate, when he needed it most.

Tennis Express

Down 5-6 in the second-set tiebreaker, Thiem blasted a backhand that crashed intot he tape and crawled over to save a match point. Empowered, Thiem battled through the tiebreaker to force a final set.




Elevating his game in the final tiebreaker, Thiem rocketed a running backhand winner down the line for 3-1. Drilling a diagonal forehand, Thiem stretched his lead to 4-1. Thiem hit a crosscourt forehand to close in two hours, 55 minutes.

 

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