Black Friday for Dominic Thiem. The number 1 of the Erste Bank Open 500 lost to Kei Nishikori (JPN/5) in the quarterfinals 3-6, 1-6.
Thiem’s start was catastrophic. With less than 15 minutes played, he was already trailing 0-5, before he was able to get on the board. This seemed to change the momentum, as Thiem made the first re-break and cut Nishikori’s lead to 3-5 with his own serve. During the Japanese next service game Thiem had two more break points, but Nishikori was able to save the both and convert his first set ball for a 6-3 win in the first set.
In the second it was more or less the same. Thiem served Nishikori his first break with two double faults on a platter, getting on the scoreboard only when the Japanese already had a 4-0 lead. It would be the only game for Thiem in the second, as Nishikori broke the Austrian’s service yet again for the 6-1 win in the second after just 1:09 hours.
“He simply was the better player today”, said Thiem after the match. “Some things, which are important for my game, didn’t work out as they do usually.” This goes especially for Thiem’s service and return. Still, there were chances to turn the tide: “If I get that second break in the first set the match would have been much closer.” Winner Nishikori saw things similarily: “It certainly was one of my best games in the last months – except for one or two games in the first set. I had more unforced errors there than usual and Thiem nearly came back.”
Nishikori will face Kukushkin (KAZ) on Saturday for a place in the finals. Thiem will return to action next week at the Masters 1000 tournament in Paris.
M. Kukushkin (KAZ) – M. Fucsovics (HUN) 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4)
K. Anderson (RSA/2) – B. Coric (CRO/6) 7-6(2), 2-1, w.o.
F. Verdasco (ESP) – G. Mofils (FRA) 6-4, 2-1, w.o.