In one of Madrid’s best matches of 2019, two-time finalist Dominic Thiem defeated no. 3 and former champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and ten minutes after fending off two match points. The Barcelona Open champion added the fourth victory over Roger in six matches, ending the Swiss’s first appearance on clay since Rome 2016 after a titanic battle that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
The Austrian advanced to the sixth Masters 1000 semi-final, overcame a slow start and survived that scare in the second-set tie-break to take home the win in the decider and book the semi-final clash against No. 1 Novak. Djokovic.
Almost nothing could separate them, with two breaks on each side and two more points on Thiem’s account. The youngest player raised his level after the first set to stay on the same level as Roger, converting just two of 12 break opportunities, but finding a way to cross the finish line first and extend the winning streak.
Federer served 84% in the first set, losing just five points from five service games and increasing the pressure on the other side of the net with an aggressive approach that took all of Thiem’s pace. The Austrian did his best to stay in touch, but had to chase the result early on, losing serve in the second game after a streak of errors.
Roger confirmed the break with a solid serve turn, going 3-0 after just nine minutes and delivering three more comfortable service games for 6-3 when Thiem sent a long right hand after just 29 minutes. Dominic was the best player in set number two, he found his range to navigate through the service games and win five break opportunities in games four and six, wasting them all and allowing Roger to reach the tiebreaker that brought all sorts of drama and emotion in 24 points.
Going down 3-0, Thiem opened up a 6-4 lead as the roller coaster began to turn, with Federer wasting two match points at 8-7 and 10-9 and fending off five set points to remain even at 11. -11 before Dominic pitched a winner with the return to close out the 13-11 tiebreaker and establish a decider.
Driven by this momentum, Thiem scored his first break of the match in game three after 100 minutes, forging a 4-2 lead before Roger returned in game eight after a deep return to extend the drama. However, the Austrian could not refuse, he stole Roger’s serve again for a 5-4 lead with a winner on the return and came over the top with an excellent turn of service in game ten to celebrate the fourth win over the Swiss.
in six games and stay on track for the title.
Roger Federer will play the French Open next week
However, in an interview with GQ Magazine, eight-time Wimbledon champion opened up on how he has had to reset his goals time and again to stay motivated in the sport.
Roger Federer revealed the question that every athlete faces after reaching a major career goal or landmark – what now? “…you see this happening very often in sports, where you finally achieve your dream, and then the question is, can you keep pushing further? You become number five in the world, now do you want to be number three? And then number one? Do you want to stay world number one?” Federer said.
“All of these questions — for some people, maybe they think, like, it’s normal. Like it’s supposed to be easy. But it’s not. It’s very, very hard,” Federer said.