Dominic Thiem's Career Curtain Call Meets with Roland Garros Silence

The Roland Garros organizers forgot about a two-time runner-up!

by Jovica Ilic
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Dominic Thiem's Career Curtain Call Meets with Roland Garros Silence
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Former world no. 3 Dominic Thiem will end his career at the end of the season, struggling with a wrist injury for three years and failing to regain his A-game. Dominic is a two-time Roland Garros finalist, but the organizers of the second Major of the season have forgotten that!

Dominic did not receive the main-draw wild card for the upcoming Major, standing six places below the cut and having to enter the qualifying draw if nothing changes in the forthcoming days! Thiem fell in the opening round in Paris in the previous three years, but he should have gotten an invitation for the main draw based on his previous results and the fact it's his final year on the Tour.

Dominic lost to Rafael Nadal on his Roland Garros debut in 2014 before reaching the semi-final two years later, showing his clay-court abilities. The Austrian dethroned Novak Djokovic in 2017 and lost to Nadal in the semi-final, moving closer to his first title match in Paris.

Dominic Thiem, Roland Garros 2021© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

It came in 2018 following triumphs over the young Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Kei Nishikori, Alexander Zverev and Marco Cecchinato.

Dominic met the king of clay Rafael Nadal and suffered a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 loss in two hours and 43 minutes after a decent effort. Rafa was ready for a tough battle, suffering clay-court losses to Dominic in the 2017 and 2018. Nadal prevented a major upset in Paris, sealing the deal in straight sets and lifting his 11th Roland Garros trophy from 14 trips to Paris!

The Spaniard controlled the pace in his games, playing against only three break points and getting broken once. The Austrian needed more to stay competitive after facing 17 break points, losing serve five times and finishing runner-up.

Thiem went for risky shots against such a strong baseliner, spraying over 40 unforced errors. Dominic stayed in touch in the shortest and most advanced exchanges.

Dominic Thiem & Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros 2019© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Dominic Thiem did not receive the Roland Garros wild card.

However, Nadal outplayed him in the mid-range rallies, dominating that segment and earning the trophy. The Spaniard broke in the second game of the match, moving 2-0 in front before the Austrian pulled the break back in the next one with a forehand winner.

Dominic survived three break points in games four and six, battling hard and remaining on the positive side. Thiem fired a forehand down the line winner in the eighth game for 4-4 and served to stay in the set in game ten. A first-time Major finalist cracked under pressure, spraying a forehand error and getting broken at love, allowing Nadal to clinch the opener 6-4 after 57 minutes.

Rafa seized the fifth break chance in the second game of the second set and held at 15 a few minutes later, rattling off five games and gaining a boost. The Spaniard denied a break point in game seven with a backhand winner and served for the set at 5-3.

Dominic Thiem, Roland Garros 2019© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Dominic sprayed a backhand error, allowing Rafa to open a 6-4, 6-3 gap after a grueling an hour and 50 minutes. Thiem survived four break points at the beginning of the third set but struggled again at 1-1.

Nadal extended the game with winners and grabbed a break that sent him closer to the finish line. The Spaniard grabbed another break in the seventh game, forging a 5-2 advantage and serving for the title in game eight. Dominic denied three match points and created a break chance.

Nadal saved it and converted the fourth match point with a service winner, celebrating his 11th Roland Garros title. Rafa and Dominic met in another Roland Garros final a year later, and the Austrian failed to cause an upset despite a great effort.

Nadal scored a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory in three hours and one minute, notching his 12th Roland Garros title. Rafa played better behind the first and second serve, defending four out of six break points and taking 45% of the return points.

Dominic Thiem & Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros 2018© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Spaniard earned seven breaks, mostly in sets three and four, breaking the rival's resistance and defending the crown.

Rafa tamed his strokes nicely, hitting more winners, fewer unforced errors and causing more mistakes from Dominic. Unlike a year ago, Nadal took charge in the shortest exchanges, attacking and controlling the pace. They traded breaks in games five and six in the opener, and Nadal saved a break point at 3-3 with a service winner to gain a boost.

Rafa secured a break at 15 in game eight with a forced error and closed the opener after Dominic's wild backhand, wrapping up the opener 6-3 after 53 minutes. The returners grabbed only six points in the opening 11 games of the second set.

Thiem moved 6-5 in front and made a push on the return in game 12. The Austrian created two set points after the Spaniard's forehand error and drew an error from the defending champion, stealing the set 7-5 and leveling the overall score.

Dominic Thiem & Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros 2018© Matthew Stockman / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafa made a fresh start and broke at love at the beginning of the third set. Nadal landed a volley winner in game two and fired another from his forehand in the next one for a 3-0 lead in no time.

The Spaniard dropped no points in his games, keeping the pressure on the other side and delivering a break at 5-1 after the Austrian's loose backhand, moving two sets to one in front after two hours and 12 minutes. Not stopping there, Nadal saved a break point in the first game of the fourth set and collected a break in game two after Thiem's wild forehand.

Rafa denied two break points in the third game and held for 3-0 after a volley winner at the net. Thiem came from 0-40 in the fourth game, rattling off five points and reducing the deficit. Still, Rafa clinched a break in the sixth game after Dominic's massive forehand error and served for the title at 5-1.

Nadal earned match points after Thiem's wayward backhand and sealed the deal with a service winner, earning his 12th Roland Garros title from 15 trips to Paris.

Dominic Thiem Roland Garros
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