Dominic Thiem backed up last week’s defeat of Francisco Cerundolo as he dispatched the Argentine 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 at the ATP event in Antwerp to add momentum to an injury comeback which has been months in the making.

The Austrian who suffered a wrist injury in June, 2021, has been fighting back for months and has set a goal of cracking the Top 100 again by season’s end.

The 2020 US Open champion and former world No. 3 defeated the South American last week in Gijon, Spain, in the quarter-finals before losing a semi to Andrey Rublev.

Thiem and Cerundolo split the first two sets beforer Thiem fought back from a break down, trailing 3-4 in the third.

The 29-year-old won four of the next five games to claim victory after more than two hours.

“That’s why I work hard every day, to be able after two hours with a very close score, to play good shots, to play good tennis,” Thiem said.

“That’s when it matters most.

“At 6-5 in the third, you have to come up with good tennis to be able to bring the match over the finish line – luckily today it was my turn.”

The 132nd-ranked Thiem broke on four of his eight chances against the No. 28.

“It’s always difficult and interesting to play somebody two weeks in a row,” the winner said. 

“I came out playing really good in the first set, but I know that he is a great player so it was obvious It was not going to continue that way.

“I had a bad start to the second set and he took advantage by coming to the net.

“The third was open – pet50/50. I was a break down (but broke back). It was a very intense and close match.”

Thiem moved up to 125 in the provisional rankings with more chances to advance as he faces top seed Hubert Hurkacz in the Friday quarter-finals with the Pole holding a 3-0 edge in their series.

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