Family genes helped win Dominic Thiem his first ATP 1000 event in Indian Wells on the weekend.
Well, that his reasoning to a solid 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Roger Federer in what is unofficially the fifth Grand Slam event.
“It’s unreal,” Thiem said, through a broad smile. “I’m lucky because I’m pretty fast. That’s a present from my parents, I guess. You cannot really practice that.”
“He covers the net well, so it was good for myself that I could pass him twice.”
The deciding move came at 5-5 in the third set, after Thiem had hit a backhand into the net to give Federer a 30-15 lead.
In the next rally Federer went for a drop shot. Thiem sprinted in, lightning speed, caught it, and sent it back and past Federer for 30-30.
Federer tried another drop shot and the result was the same.
The young Austrian then went on to break Federer’s serve with a forehand winner.
For Federer it was a wakeup call. Not unexpected because the gap between the top 10 is narrowing.
“You could feel like every shot in Dominic’s game has got some punch behind it,” Federer said.
“I think that’s why he has done well here this week. I’m surprised he hasn’t done better in previous years.
“I feel like he had to come up with the goods (today), and it did feel like to some extent it was in my racket.
“I just came up against somebody who was, on the day, a bit better when it really mattered.”
Thiem had shown poise throughout the second set by fending off two break points and holding serve for a 2-1 lead. He got a break in the next game and then clinched the set.
“Roger was not able to break me. I think he was maybe a little bit down,” Thiem said.
“I was on the upper side, and I used that momentum well to break him to 3-1.”
Thiem loves hardcourts – more than clay or grass – so once he had made it to the semis, this was no big surprise.
A surprise to some for sure, but many feel this one has been coming.
“For all of us younger players, it’s really a privilege to still be able to compete with Roger and to play against him in the finals of big tournaments like this one,”Thiem said.
“I hope, and we all hope, that he continues for quite a while yet.”
Thiem and womens champion Bianca Andreescu earned $1.3 million each.