Dominic Thiem has made a name for himself as a clay-court specialist but hasn’t been able to translate his form on the faster surfaces. However, that didn’t stop him from coming up with a tweener winner against Guido Pella, in the Australian Open, that Roger Federer would have been proud of.
Thiem, who has reached two back-to-back French Open semi-finals, has failed to capitalize on the momentum and has never been able to make it into the quarters of any other major. In his first-round encounter at the 2018 Australian Open, the Austrian went up against Pella and was already two sets up when he decided to have some fun.
In the third game of the third set, Thiem had already missed a couple of break points to bring up the second deuce of the game when he decided he had had enough with normal shots. Pella came up with a serve wide towards the Thiem’s forehand that the Austrian returned with a cross-court shot that made Pella stretch as well. However, the Argentinian got there and was able to get a brilliant angle on his next shot that took Thiem off the court. Theim’s return was a weak one and the Argentine was able to come up with a glorious drop in the deuce court. Thiem was trying to get back to the centre of the court but seeing that the ball was heading in the opposite direction, he changed direction brilliantly but could hit it straight at his opponent.
With Thiem at the net, Pella casually lobbed the ball over him to leave the former stranded. But Thiem had worked too hard in the game and the point to let it go and the Austrian turned his back to his opponent and ran the other way. On getting to the ball, he had no option but attempt a tweener and he did it to perfection. The ball that Pella was supposed to pick up ended up catching the sideline on the deuce court to add one more to the winner’s tally of the 24-year-old.
As Thiem raised his fist to celebrate a much-deserved point, not only did the crowd rise up to applaud the shot, the opponent also sunk to his knees with a smile on his face. The smile was wiped out on the very next point, though, as Thiem converted the break point to take a lead in the third set.