World No.3 Dominic Thiem is looking to take Rafael Nadal’s throne at French Open. With Rafa regarded as the ‘king of clay’, Thiem’s performances at the French Open in the past 5 years have earned him the title of ‘prince of clay’. Now with the added confidence of being a Grand Slam champion, Thiem looks to finally ascend Rafa and in his way stands Diego Schwartzman at the quarterfinal stage of French Open 2020.
Dominic Thiem vs Diego Schwartzman: Preview
Theim came into the French Open after winning US Open 2020. And not having played any clay-court match before the French Open, Thiem has so far played with great zeal and optimism.
As he is a two-time defending runner-up at Roland Garros, expectations are high. His earlier round matches had champion written all over it. Even when he was challenged by Hugo Gaston in the 4th round, Thiem showed us that he can win matches from crunch situations. His forehand is really flowing right now and arguably has become the 2nd best clay-court player currently on the tour.
Coming to Diego Schwartzman, he will be delighted with his French Open 2020 journey. Having ticked a lot of right boxes, the Argentine hasn’t dropped a set yet. Diego played the Italian Open prior to the French Open and finished as the runner up behind Novak Djokovic. But the highlight was his straight-set victory over the mighty Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the same tournament. Even with his small stature he is able to find some ridiculous angles in his strokes and has improved his defending to stay alive in the long rallies that happen on clay.
Thiem vs Schwartzman: Head-to-head
Although they have faced each other eight times, this will be their first meeting at a Grand Slam event. Thiem leads the head-to-head 6-2. The Austrian also has won their last three encounters. On clay though, Thiem narrowly leads 2-1.
Thiem vs Schwartzman: Prediction
Thiem undoubtedly starts as a heavy favorite for this clash. Both of them are good friends and know each other’s game really well. In otherwise a flawless French Open 2020, Thiem showed some small concerns in his 4th round game against Gaston. The absence of a plan B is felt in Thiem’s game. Against Gaston’s drop shots, Thiem had no counterattack and it was his experience that won him the match. With Thiem admitting not being at his optimal fitness level, we are in for a close clash.
Schwartzman always amazes fans and players with his power-hitting despite his relatively small stature. He can defend and turn it into an attack which was quite evident in his match against Rafa Nadal at the Italian Open. Although possessing a decent serve, Schwartzman is a great returner. And often when Thiem is troubled it is his service that falters first so if Schwartzman can get some great returns Thiem could be in trouble. But with the weight of recently becoming a Grand Slam champion, it looks like Thiem just edges out Schwartzman for tomorrow’s clash.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in four sets.
Read More: “Not Running on a Full Tank” – Dominic Thiem Ahead of His Quarterfinal Battle at French Open 2020