2020 in Review: Dominic Thiem tops Gael Monfils to set Rafael Nadal clash



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2020 in Review: Dominic Thiem tops Gael Monfils to set Rafael Nadal clash

World no. 5 Dominic Thiem advanced to his first Australian Open quarter-final, beating Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 50 minutes, setting the anticipated Rafael Nadal clash. After a slow start of the season at the ATP Cup, Thiem found the form in Melbourne to secure a place in the last eight, overcoming a tough challenge against Alex Bolt and sailing through against Monfils for a notable result at Melbourne Park.

The Austrian lost only 12 points behind the initial shot, never faced a break point and delivered four breaks from 14 opportunities to control the scoreboard and move over the top without wasting too much energy. Taming his strokes nicely, Dominic hit 31 winners and 19 unforced errors while Gael counted to 26 winners and 32 unforced errors, unable to match Thiem's pace from the baseline and finishing his journey in the fourth round.

Dominic had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes, destroying Gael in the most extended exchanges to sail into the quarters and his best result in Melbourne. Monfils fended off a break chance in the first game with a well-constructed attack, unable to repeat that two games later when Thiem broke him to move 2-1 in front.

Finding the zone early on, the Austrian produced one good hold after another, securing another break in game seven with a beautiful volley winner at the net and holding at 30 a few minutes later for 6-2.

Dominic Thiem ousted Gael Monfils to reach the last eight in Melbourne.

The second set offered nine comfortable holds on both sides and one loose service game for Monfils that cost him dearly, despite a solid effort.

Gael held with an underarm serve in the third game after deuce and grabbed another hold at 2-2 when Thiem netted a backhand. Following that pace, Thiem blasted two winners after deuce in game six to level the score at 3-3, earning a break in the next one on his fourth chance when Gael sprayed a volley mistake at the net.

The Austrian confirmed the lead with a hold at love and painted a forehand winner in game ten to wrap up the set and move closer to the finish line. Nothing changed in the third set, with Dominic ruling the court on both serve and return, sailing through his games and creating seven break chances in three straight games.

Thiem moved in front with a break in the opening game and wasted three more opportunities at 2-0 that could have pushed him further in front. Leaving that game behind him, Thiem held at love to open a 3-1 gap and wasted more return chances in the next one, allowing Gael to remain within one break deficit.

Serving well, Dominic forged a 5-3 advantage and held at love with an ace in game ten to advance into the next round and set the clash against world no. 1 Rafael Nadal.