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Is It Dominic’s Time to Dominate?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What the 22-year-old Austrian has done to make the difference

Dominic Thiem has won two titles and has reached a semi final in his last three tournaments. This run resulted in 13 wins out of 14 matches including two top ten wins. In the semi finals of Buenos Aires, he defeated Rafael Nadal in a third set tiebreak on clay before going on to claim the title. The next week in Rio de Janeiro, another clay court tournament, he handily beat David Ferrer en route to the semis. He followed this with a title win in Acapulco, his first on hard courts (his four previous were on clay). Since turning pro in 2011, Thiem has been steadily rising through the ranks of the ATP World Tour. He now sits at a career high of 13 in the world and shows signs of cementing himself at the top of the game.


Thiem first broke into the top hundred in 2014 and ended the year just inside the top 40. However, he really made his breakthrough in 2015 where he won three tour level titles and moved up twenty spots in the rankings. Much of his 2015 success can be attributed to his improvements in serving. 2015 saw a 4% increase in both first and second serve points won. This increase in total service points won resulted in a 7% more service holds in 2015 compared to the previous year. 

Serving Statistics  

                                                  2014                2015                2016

1st Serve Points Won             71%                   75%                74%

2nd Serve Points Won           51%                   55%               54% 

Service Games Won              77%                   84%               83%


Total Service Points Won    63%                   66%               67%


Players at the peak of the game like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are know for their returns.  Improvements in Thiem’s return statistics have characterized his 2016 rise towards the top ten. While his serving numbers this year are comparable to 2015, he has been returning at a much higher level. Thiem has been able to win 3% more of the return points he plays, and this has led to a 5% increase in return games won. This slight increase has been the difference that has allowed Thiem to climb to 13 in the world. 

Return Statistics

                                                            2015                2016

1st Serve Return Points Won          28%                 31%

2nd Serve Return Points Won        49%                 50%

Return Games Won                         20%                 25%

Return Points Won                          36%                 39%


Small increases in the number of points won translate to much larger increases on the levels of games and matches. Thiem won 50% of points played in 2014. This increased to 51% in 2015 and is now at 52% so far in 2016. The results have followed. Before this year, Thiem had a career three ATP titles. He already has two more in the first three months of 2016 and shows no signs of slowing down. 

Dominic Thiem is only 22 years old and at 13 in the world, he sits in the perfect position to reach the game’s highest level. As the stars in the top ten continue to age, more opportunities will arise for Thiem to climb. His next test is at the BNP Paribas Open this week where he is seeded for the first time. A deep run at this tournament would give this star in the making even more confidence to continue his 2016 success. 

All statistics courtesy of http://www.atpworldtour.com 


Edited by Julian Boireau, James Malloy.

SQuiz
Who did Dominic Thiem beat to win his first ATP title?
Created 3/11/16
  1. Gael Monfils
  2. Ernest Gulbis
  3. Bernard Tomic
  4. Leonardo Mayer

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