Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs.  Milos Raonic (CAN)
Raonic led their head-to-head 2:0; however, they had not played each other since 2016. Thiem had never won a set against the Canadian, but a lot has changed for both players since then. The Canadian has battled a slew of injuries, which has impacted his form, his ranking and his confidence. Thus, despite their head-to-head, the odds were in favor of Thiem getting his first set and possibly his first victory against the Canadian.
BOTH PLAYERS HELD SERVE IN THE FIRST SET
When you play against a big server, your primary objective is to hold your serve and focus all your energy of capitalizing on any opportunity you get to break your opponent. Thiem had the better serving statistics on both first and second serves won, as well as the higher first serve percentage; thus, while they both protected their serves the entire set, the likelihood of the Austrian getting more opportunities to get the mini-break(s) in the tiebreak was high. Thiem won the tiebreak quite comfortably.
RAONIC FOUGHT BACK IN SET TWO
The Canadian battled back in set two and fought off the one break point against his serve. Thiem’s first serve percentage fell and the points won on first and second serves also fell; thus, it was no surprise when his opponent dominated the tiebreak to even the match. Thiem had yet to face a break point against his serve, so his confidence was still high despite losing the second set.
WOULD THERE BE A THIRD TIEBREAK SET?
Raonic cracked first in the deciding set and one break was all the Austrian needed to secure the victory; however, he had to earn it. Serving for the match, Thiem faced the first break point against his serve and he used a drop shot that was poorly executed; however, Raonic is not known for his foot speed and although he got to the ball, he sent the shot long and squandered his one opportunity to even the match. That was the reprieve that Thiem needed and he calmed his nerves long enough to serve it out; he won 7-6(3), 6-7(3), 6-4.
Thiem is into her third Masters 1000 final and he will have to get by Roger Federer, who advanced to the final when Rafael Nadal withdrew due to a right knee injury suffered in his match against Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals, if he wants to claim his first Masters 1000 title.
IMAGE SOURCES: Zimbio.com (Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe-Dominic Thiem)