Thiem Topples Murray For Barcelona Final Berth | ATP World Tour | TennisDominic Thiem claimed his first victory over a World No. 1 on Saturday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, edging Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in a high quality affair in the Spanish metropolis.
Thiem was on the front foot throughout the encounter, firing 41 winners, including 25 off his forehand wing and six aces. The fourth seed, who improves to 10-1 on clay this year, advanced to his 12th ATP World Tour final.
Bidding for his second 500-level title of the year, having prevailed in Rio de Janeiro in February, Thiem will face either nine-time champion Rafael Nadal or Argentine Horacio Zeballos on Sunday.
Murray struggled to find his footing in the early proceedings, on a sun-kissed afternoon at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona. Off-balance from the baseline and struggling to inject pace into his groundstrokes, the World No. 1 fell behind an immediate break as a drop shot landed short. Thiem used his penetrating backhand to open the court for his forehand, pushing Murray side to side. He would consolidate a double break for a 6-2 lead after just half an hour.
But Murray would halt Thiem’s momentum in the second set. Persistently striking drop shots to draw Thiem forward, the top seed changed the court position battle in his favour. After breaking for 5-3, he would force a decider with a return winner.
The drama would reach new heights as the lead vascillated between the two competitors in the third set. Murray and Thiem twice traded breaks of serve, before the Austrian claimed his first match point with the Scot serving to stay in it at 5-4. Murray was unable to handle a sublime lob as Thiem secured a spot in the final after two hours and 14 minutes.
It was Thiem’s first win in three FedEx ATP Head2Head clashes with Murray, having most recently met at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami in 2015. He overturned an 0-4 mark against World No. 1s.
Murray, meanwhile, saw his ruthless win streak in ATP World Tour 500 events snapped at 21 straight. He had won titles in four consecutive appearances – London/Queen’s Club, Beijing and Vienna in 2016 and Dubai this year. The Dunblane native was making his fifth trip to the historic Trofeo Conde de Godo in Barcelona and first since 2012.