Dominic Thiem successfully defended his Open de Nice Cote d’Azur title, overcoming a stern test from #NextGen star Alexander Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 on Saturday.
Thiem claimed his sixth ATP World Tour title and third in 2016, having lifted the trophy on the clay of Buenos Aires and hard courts of the 500-level event in Acapulco. He is the 10th player to retain a tour-level title this year and the second to do so in the seven-year history of the Nice event. Nicolas Almagro also won back-to-back titles in the French city, in 2011-12.
“It’s been an unbelievably great week,” said Thiem. “The first time I had to defend a title and I made it. Maybe I played better in the three matches before this, but a final is always special. You have so much to win and so much to lose. I played a solid third set and I’m really happy. My arm is a little tired, but I will be ok for Roland Garros on Monday.”
Zverev looked to be in control from the start, earning four break points on Thiem’s serve early in the opening set. The German would convert his fourth with a backhand return winner, streaking to a quick 4-2 lead. But Thiem would clamp down, breaking back for 4-all after an untimely nose bleed forced Zverev to the sidelines for a medical timeout. The German teen double faulted to give the break back and did so once again when facing his first set point. Thiem would reel off six straight games to snatch the opener and grab a quick break in the second set.
But Zverev was not finished just yet. The lead vacillated once again, with the 19 year old breaking back immediately and claiming six of the next seven games to force a decider, as Thiem called for the trainer with an apparent right shoulder injury.
Zverev would fight hard, but it wasn’t enough, as Thiem found a second gear in the decider. The Austrian won 24 of 29 points in the third set to secure the title. He fired five aces and converted six of eight break chances to emerge victorious after one hour and 39 minutes.
Thiem improved to 36-10 in 2016, already equaling his career-best 36 match wins from a year ago. He is just one victory shy of Novak Djokovic’s tour-leading mark. The 22-year-old Austrian takes home €82,450 in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points.
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