Former world no. 3 Dominic Thiem made another big step toward a top-100 return. The Austrian is through to his third semi-final of the season in Antwerp following a thrilling 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 triumph over world no. 11 Hubert Hurkacz!
Dominic fended off three match points in the second set's tie break and prevailed in the decider to emerge at the top after two hours and 55 minutes. Thiem won one point more than Hurkacz, as there was nothing to separate them.
The Pole fired 17 aces and fended off both break points he faced. Still, it was not enough to carry him over the top, wasting his opportunities in the second set and falling in the deciding set's tie break. Hubert built a slim advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes, and Dominic erased that deficit in the more extended rallies.
Thiem made a slow start and got broken in the encounter's second game after a loose forehand. Hurkacz settled into a fine rhythm behind the initial shot and served for the opener in game nine.
Dominic Thiem saved three match points against Hubert Hurkacz in Antwerp.
Thiem cracked a backhand down the line winner to create his first break point.
Hurkacz saved it with a service winner and landed a forehand down the line winner for 6-3 in 38 minutes. The second set offered great serving from both players and no break chances. Hubert served at 5-6 and held with a forehand down the line winner to introduce a tie break, a must-win one for Dominic.
Hurkacz earned a mini-break at 4-4 after Thiem's volley mistake and created two match points with a booming serve. The Pole missed the first with a forehand error, and the Austrian saved the second after a lucky net cord winner.
Hurkacz saved a set point at 6-7 with a service winner and created the third match point at 8-7. He squandered it with a backhand mistake and denied another set point at 8-9. Dominic seized the third set point at 10-9 with a volley winner at the net that sent them into a decider.
Hurkacz saved a break point at the start of the final set, and they both served well in the following six games. Dominic defended a break point in game eight with a forehand winner and locked the result at 4-4 after two and a half hours.
Both players produced comfortable holds in the remaining four games to arrange the deciding tie break. Thiem cracked a booming backhand down the line return winner for a 3-1 lead and forged a 5-2 advantage with a service winner.
Hurkacz saved two set points at 4-6 before Thiem grabbed the third with a forehand down the line winner that propelled him into the semi-final.