Heir Apparent: Dominic Thiem

Heir

Mutua Madrid Open, Spain

[3] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. [5] Dominic Thiem (AUT)

Thiem led their head-to-head 3:2 coming into this match, with the added advantage of winning their only previous encounter on clay; thus, he was favored to win this match. However, Federer came out focused; he served well and never gave his opponent an opportunity to break his serve.

Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe: Roger Federer

THIEM HAD OPPORTUNITIES

The second set was more competitive as Thiem brought out some of his best tennis to push Federer to struggle on his serve. Yet, Thiem could not capitalize on any of the five break opportunities he received. Not a surprise the set would be decided in a tiebreaker. The Austrian saved two match points, won the set and forced a decider.

HOW WOULD FEDERER RESPOND?

After protecting his serve all match, he was broken twice in the third set; although he broke back once, Thiem secured the second break to secure the match. In his previous match, Federer saved match points against Gael Monfils to get to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, that match may have taken more out of him than anticipated and he seemed to fade the longer his match against Thiem continued.

Getty Images/Europe: Dominic Thiem

THIEM GETS DJOKOVIC NEXT

Although Novak Djokovic leads their head-to-head 5:2, the Austrian has won their last two encounters. Yet, it was not without a battle as both matches had a tiebreak set. This will be their first meeting of the 2019 season; does the heir apparent have what is takes to get the victory? Expectations are high for the Austrian since he recently dethroned the king of clay in Barcelona. How will he handle the pressure when faced with trying to defeat the number one ranked player in the semifinals? Is Djokovic confident enough to get the victory?

SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Getty Images/Europe)

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