Kitzbuhel | Thiem battles into final

Dominic Thiem has been the main focus of attention at the Generali Open which isn’t surprising as he is not only playing in front of his home crowd, but he is showing the best form since his career-threatening wrist injury which he picked up in Mallorca 2021.

It was a very tough and intense match. So close every set, every single game. I knew it straight from the beginning that it would be so close, first three or four games were 20, 25 minutes. It was just an incredible atmosphere again. Dominic Thiem

And he hasn’t failed his supporters this week for he is now just one match away from collecting his second Kitzbuhel title after battling past a very aggressive Serbian, Laslo Djere 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(8) after saving five match points for his first final since reaching the ATP Finals in 2020.

The former world No. 3 impressed with some of his best form as he battled through a match that lasted for three and a half hours, to set up a final in Kitzbuhel against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, who defeated his top-seeded compatriot Tomas Martin Etcheverry 7-6(5) 3-6 6-4 and hopes to avenge last year’s loss to the Argentine in Bastaad.

“I don’t know if I can still produce some good words,” a relieved Thiem said afterwards.

“It was probably the longest best-of-three match I’ve ever played in my life, including when I was a kid. I think even then I didn’t play that long for a best of three match.

“It was a very tough and intense match. So close every set, every single game. I knew it straight from the beginning that it would be so close, first three or four games were 20, 25 minutes. It was just an incredible atmosphere again.”

Should Thiem win his 17th tour-level title, it would mark his first trophy at any level since the 2020 US Open.

“It’s very special today, my first final on the tour since my wrist injury. I couldn’t be happier that it’s here in Austria at home,” the 29-year-old Thiem added.

Earlier Baez had prevailed against Etcheverry in an equally enthralling two-hour and 41-minute battle between two compatriots in which he converted three of the five break points he raised to reach his fifth tour-level championship match.

“It’s always difficult to play with a friend,” Baez said later. “We’ve known each other all my tennis life, so I know him, I know he’s a very good player who has had a big year. Congrats to him for this semi-final and for this year, but I tried to fight every time and every point.

“I’m very happy, because the last weeks I didn’t have big results, so happy to be in the final,” said Baez who was awaiting the result of the second semi-final.

“It will be tough for sure. Two big players. Djere had the final in Hamburg [last week], Thiem, we know all about his career. For sure both players will be dangerous. Now I will just focus on the recovery, and we will see.”


Sebastian Baez put out the top seed to reach the final

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