On a rain-interrupted Saturday in the Austrian Alps, Russia’s Andrey Rublev battled past Dominic Thiem, 6-2 5-7 [10-8], to win the THIEMs7 presented by Soccercoin invitational tournament in Kitzbühel, avenging the defeat at the hands of the local hero in straight sets in the round robin stage.
It was a huge deal for us players to play in front of such an enthusiastic audience. The atmosphere was really cool and I want to thank everyone who came. In these difficult times, this is anything but a matter of course. Dominic Thiem
The THIEMs’7 tournament was held in front of a maximum capacity of 500 socially-distanced spectators to respect the strict anti-covid rules.
While nothing came of the dream of winning the title at his own tournament for the host of the event, Thiem was happy at how successful the event has been, particularly for Austrian players.
“It was a huge deal for us players in front of such an enthusiastic audience play,” said a satisfied Thiem. “The atmosphere was really cool and I want to thank everyone who came.
“In these difficult times, this is anything but a matter of course.”
THIEMs7 has fulfilled its objectives by offering a week of fine matches by top stars, providing valuable match play practice after months of lockdown due to worldwide coronavirus.
“All players are super happy,” added Thiem. “Of course, Kitzbühel also contributed a lot because it is simply beautiful here.
“And then security was also taken care of which is, of course, very important for the players at the moment.
“It all worked out perfectly and I believe that the tournament went perfectly.”
Earlier, Rublev had defeated Matteo Berrettini 6-4 7-6(6) to secure his spot in the final against Thiem.
Unable to convert his break point in the 4th game of the opening set before earning the break in the 10th game to win it 6-4, Rublev was leading 2-1 in the second when his semi-final match was held over due to rain on Friday afternoon.
At the resumption on Saturday, Berrettini held his service game and earned two break points, but Rublev saved them both.
The Italian failed to convert two more chances in the 9th game and the second set came down to the tiebreak in which Rublev took the 8-6 edge.
After brief break, Rublev returned to the centre court for the final and converted 2 of his 6 break points to win the opening set 6-2.
Thiem found his rhythm and earned himself 3 break chances in the 2nd game of the second set, but failed to convert any of them.
After Rublev got the break in the 3rd game to take a 2-1 lead, Thiem broke straight back in the 4th game to draw level at 2-2.
Again, Thiem earned break points, 3 of them, in the 6th game, but he could not convert any of them, adding to his frustration.
Rublev converted the only break point he held and was just 2 games away from winning the tournament at 4-3 when the match was interrupted in the 8th game at 15-15.
Two hours later the match resumed, and Thiem converted his 12th break point to draw level at 4-4.
The Austrian earned another break in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5, forcing proceedings into the match tiebreak.
Rublev earned the first mini-break, but Thiem broke back to draw level, only for the Russian take 2 more for an 8-5 lead, and securing the win, 10-8, and the THIEMs7 title.
“It was a great week. I really enjoyed being here,” said Rublev, the World No 14, who took home the winner’s check for 100,000 euros in addition to 100,000 soccer coins donated by the main sponsor.
Spectators and media have praised the implementation of strict Covid 19 security measures.
“We were particularly pleased that we were also named as a role model here,” said tournament organisers Markus Bodner, Herbert Günther and Florian Zinnagl . “The requirements in the immediate pre-application were difficult in every respect.
“We are therefore all the more pleased that we were able to set an exclamation point with a view to the Generali Open in September, and show that players, visitors and employees can feel safe with us.”
The Kitzbühel tournament organisers are expecting a decision about the feasibility of the US Open, which could affect the scheduling of the Generali Open.
The 76th edition of the ATP 250 tournament is still planned for 7-13 September.