Dominic Thiem, the second seed at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, tried everything he could in his second-round match against Robin Haase, but couldn’t prevent the upset of the day. The unseeded Dutch player lived to fight another day, prevailing 6-3, 7-6(7) in straight sets in an hour and 34 minutes. It turned out to be quite an abrupt end for the Austrian’s run, who had made the semi-finals at Halle last season.
“Well, it was not the best start [to the grass season]. I had [a] pretty average first set and then the second set was pretty good,” analysed Thiem, when The Field caught up with him for a brief post-match interview.
Thiem’s comparative observation between the two sets he played wasn’t misplaced. He did up his game in the second set and had a few handy opportunities to stay in the match, despite Haase taking the lead.
The second seed lost his serve in the ninth game, allowing Haase to serve for the match. But, not only did Thiem break right back, he also secured three set points in the resulting tie-break to potentially take the match into the decider. However, he failed to convert them and had to contend with an early exit.
Thiem didn’t hesitate to talk about his lack of conversion and gave credit to where he thought it were due – to Haase, and his tactical plotting. “I had lot of chances, but he [Haase] really played the set points well, especially in the last [point]. I was pretty much [playing] in the offence all the time. It was probably my biggest chance. But, what could I do? He was playing really well. And, that’s all,” he said.
Thiem’s matter-of-fact assessment about his opponent being the better player on the day also branched out to a pragmatic approach regarding the rest of his season on grass.
“It was not such a bad loss,” mused Thiem, for one last time before quickly adding, “I hope that next week I have some more matches on the grass-court and then [there’s] the big [tournament] at Wimbledon.”
With an extended grass season dotting the 2017 season – with a couple of more tournaments still lined up – Thiem does have enough time on his hands to shrug past this unexpected ouster, well in time for the start of the third Major of the year.