Heading to Barcelona with only nine ATP wins under his belt in 2019 (five of those in Indian Wells where he claimed the first Masters 1000 crown), Dominic Thiem was determined to boost his clay-court game once again ahead of Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros.
The 3rd seed and a former finalist did that in style, ousting Diego Schwartzman, Jaume Munar and Guido Pella for the place in the semis where he dethroned Rafael Nadal in straight sets to advance into the 20th ATP final. There, Thiem needed just 73 minutes to dismiss injured Daniil Medvedev (the Russian struggled with shoulder pain) 6-4, 6-0 and conquer the 13th ATP crown and the first since St.
Petersburg last fall. Playing in the 33rd match of the season, Medvedev had a chance to fight for the first ATP title on clay (semi-final in Monte Carlo a week earlier) but had nothing left in the tank after a hard-fought win over Nishikori on the previous day, struggling with a right shoulder injury and dropping 12 of the last 13 games to propel Dominic over the top.
The Russian landed only 51% of the first serve in and lost almost 60% of the points behind the initial shot to suffer five breaks from eight chances offered to the Austrian who had to defend only three break points in the second game of the match.
Thiem had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and those most extended ones, hitting more winners than unforced errors and drawing more than 20 forced mistakes from the Russian to control the scoreboard after an early setback.
Daniil managed to grab a break in the second game following a slice error from Dominic, making an excellent hold to open a 3-0 lead when Thiem sent a slice into the net, settling into a nice rhythm and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter.
Motivated after that thrilling win over Rafael Nadal, Dominic broke back at love in game five after a forehand error from the Russian who wasted a 40-0 lead at 3-3 to suffer a break and push Thiem ahead, having to save a set point at 5-3.
Medvedev did that with a smash winner but the set was out of his reach now, with the Austrian sealing the first part of the match with a powerful forehand winner in game ten after 50 minutes. Receiving a medical timeout before this final game of the set, Daniil was miles off his best tennis and stood no chance in set number two, allowing Thiem to claim 24 out of 29 points and race over the finish line in some 22 minutes after a volley winner at 5-0, producing a bagel and celebrating the most significant title on clay since Rio de Janeiro 2017.