Thiem Shocks Federer To Clinch First Masters 1000 Title

Tanya Simon
March 20, 2019

Roger Federer admitted Dominic Thiem deserved his first ATP Masters 1000 title on the hard courts of Indian Wells, but explained how clay is where the Austrian may have the "secret" to achieve greatness.

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open, giving Roger Federer, a walkover through to the semifinal.

It came in the very next game when Federer netted an easy forehand, blasting four winners on serve to gain a 4-1 lead and clinching the set in a mighty impressive way after landing four more direct points in game nine for a 6-3. "For all of us younger players, it's really a privilege to still be able to compete with him and to play against him in the finals of big tournaments like this one", Thiem said.

Having reached his first Masters final in 2017 and his first Grand Slam final in 2018 only to be denied by Nadal, 2019 has now provided the 25-year-old with the biggest title of his career and the next staging post in his career courtesy of a win over perhaps the greatest the game has seen - quite a statement.

"I am obviously excited to be in the finals, but not this way", said the 37-year-old Federer. "What a great week Dominic has had, congratulations".

"It is such a pleasure to compete with you, to learn so much from you, and to play with one of the biggest legends of all time", Thiem said before picking up the trophy. "I know it's going to be very tough, but at the same time, I will give it everything to hopefully win my first (Masters 1000) title".

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The Swiss legend took the initiative early in the match, breezing through the first set and similarly setting the stage for a two-set victory by claiming Thiem's first service game in the second. It was completely different from my opponents before him. "I was a little nervous to serve it out", Thiem said after the match.

In what often is the case in small sample sizes, wild fluctuation in break point performance has a considerable impact, and with Federer saving under 50% of break points on his serve against Thiem in his career, this has been a major contributory factor as to why the series reads 2-2, as opposed to Federer leading it.

Federer's own serve lost some of its bite in the crucial game in the third set with the score tied at 5-5. "I think when you feel that way, you take it more. positively?" said Federer, who was stunned in the fourth round of the Australian Open by reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas. Really, there is no reason to get down.

Moreover, Federer said that he was overall happy, and looks forward to more tournaments.

Thiem will also play in Miami, hoping to complete the "Sunshine Double" with a victory there after his Indian Wells win.

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