Dominic Thiem says a positive mindset helped him reach the quarter-final in Doha after beating Russian Aslan Karatsev in three sets.
Karatsev was the surprise semi-finalist at last months Australian Open, starting the tournament ranked 114th but went on an incredible run beating Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov before Novak Djokovic halted his progress to the final.
Meanwhile Thiem had a more difficult time in Australia, with an early exit in the fourth round which he later described as “devastating”.
The two players haven’t played each other in a competitive match since they were juniors, and Karatsev, who is now ranked 45th, took the first set with a tie-break, before Thiem, ranked 4th, came back to win the match 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Thiem admitted afterwards that Karatsev played well but said that a positive mindset helped him take the win.
“We played in juniors 10 or 11 years ago, and we also practised in Vienna, so he wasn’t completely new to me,” said Thiem.
“But he has raised his level so much in the past six months, especially last month in Australia.
“I was up in the tie-break and then I lost it, which was not nice, but he helped me a little bit in that first game [of the second set]. I think he hit two double faults.
“After you lose a close set, it’s super important to have a good start in the next one. And that’s what I had. I
“t was pretty fast, 3-0, and so I was positive again in my mind. I also loosened up a little bit and started to play better.”
Thiem will now face Robero Bautista Agut in the quarter-final and if all goes to plan could potentially face a semi-final against in form Andrey Rublev and a final against returning tennis legend Roger Federer.
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