Dominic Thiem continued his steady return to tennis after a six-week mental break, with the two-time Madrid Masters finalist settling into a fourth quarter-final here on Thursday.

The Austrian third seed held off Alex de Minaur 7-6(7), 6-4, saving four of five break points while improving to 15-4 over his career on the Caja Magica clay.

Thiem has not missed at least a last-eight spot in Madrid since 2017; he took time away after an early loss in Dubai to recharge his mental batteries at home.

Thiem’s opening set against his Australian opponent was a slight struggle, with the seed recovering from a set down and taking the set in a tiebreaker – but two breaks of serve in the second set were enough to see him through..  

The reigning US Open champion kept his long-term dominance of De Minaur, winning 11 or their 12 sets played in the series which Thiem now leads 4-0.

Kazakh Alexander Bublik ended the run of Dubai champion Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarters, 

The 75-minute victory was highlighted by 14 aces off the winner’s racquet, with No. 44 Bublik salvaging seven of eight break points against his serve.

“It was a pretty good match from both of us,” Thiem said. “It was per perfect for me: he a top player and he likes to play longer rallies.

“We had good long rallies, many times I was out of breath after a point.

“It was a perfect way to get back into match rhythm, running down balls.

“This was a match that had everything. Since this is my first tournament back, it was a good buildup for next week (Rome).”

Main photo:- Dominic Thiem advances to quarter finals in Madrid – by Madrid Mutua Open

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