The 29-year-old worked his way through his opening game for nearly three hours before the 25-year-old Paul put in his place after defending two match points with 2:6 7:6 (7/2) 7:6 (8/ 6). Tim immediately praised his performance or the increase there to almost full ranks. “I would never have won the match without the energy of the fans. The only thing I could have done was keep it up. And it paid off.”
Especially in the second round, Tim bites his opponent and then hits. “In the tiebreak in the second set, when I played well, that was the turning point.” However, the lower Austrian was on the verge of losing in the deciding set, but made up for a 2:5 deficit and repelled two match points.
Tim Pauls wrestling
Dominic Thiem celebrated success at the tennis tournament at Wiener Stadthalle. He defeated the lower Austrian American Tommy Ball in three sets after a poor start.
Performance can still be increased
Before Thursday’s duel with the winner of Wednesday’s match between Russia’s top seed Daniil Medvedev and Georgia’s Nikolos Basilashvili, it’s time to take on this competition. “I’ll try to enjoy that for once,” Tim said, but he was also thinking about the possibility of improvement. “It was good at times in terms of playing, but it was so negative against a player like that. It almost got me going. So I will try to recover and play more freely on Thursday. Now I know the circumstances perfectly.”
Tim enjoyed victory immediately after using the match ball, as he usually did only with big wins like the US Open win, he let himself fall on his back. “I certainly never did that after winning the first round,” he said. “I only do it in very special moments – when I feel like it wasn’t a daily match. It was a huge relief. All those hard months were worth it just because of this win. Not so much in tennis, that all the people by your side in the hall” .
The duel with Medvedev will be a “big bonus”
He expects Medvedev to be 80 percent in the round of 16 and sees this duel as “a reward, a huge reward. Until recently, he was number one in the world. Matches like this – no matter how they turn out – if you play well, help me a lot”. Tim leads 3:2 in head-to-head matches, most recently losing to the Russian in the 2020 ATP Finals.
As in the Antwerp semi-final against Sebastian Korda, Thiem now has the ‘match ball’ to get back into the top 100. If unsuccessful, the chase will continue next weekend in the Paris Percy qualifiers.
Long games as a mental challenge
Physically, despite his last two three-set matches in Antwerp and now nearly three hours against Paul, he sees himself ready for the Round of 16, but mentally it is more than a sticking point. “Winning is really good for self-confidence, but it takes a lot of mental strength – playing long matches all the time and keeping the tension high all the time,” Tim explained. “I’m not at the level I was three or four years ago, where I can play for weeks with the same focus and mental strength. That’s why I hope to get energy from the crowd again.”
Rodionov satisfied despite the defeat
In the previous match, this also came in the direction of Yurij Rodionov, but he was knocked off the field against Canadian Denis Shapovalov with a loss of 4:6 and 4:6. The 23-year-old experienced his most intense training carried out in the match. “I started training four hours in a row without a break,” revealed the Lower Austrian. “I think you could see that I kept fit in the long rallies and that my legs and head were fit. I am very satisfied with the development. The most important thing now is that I keep at it and keep improving.”
The initiative to adapt the training came from him, and his coach, Gary Muller and Günter Bresnik, welcomed him to his Südstadt academy. After returning to South African Muller in the summer, the training content did not change much, but his attitude towards the coach did. “Now I appreciate it more.” Like Tim, Rodionov’s goal for the year remains at the top of the main competition at the Australian Open. As a 130th in the ATP rankings, he’s still missing a lot. At least three other competitors must bring him the desired points.
ATP 500 Championship in Vienna
(Austria €2,489,935, hard court/inner court)
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