ATP Brisbane: Dominic Thiem survives, sets Rafael Nadal clash

Dominic Thiem defeated Giulio Zeppieri in the final qualifying round in Brisbane

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Brisbane: Dominic Thiem survives, sets Rafael Nadal clash
© Tennis Australia

World no. 98 Dominic Thiem is through into the main draw at the ATP 250 event in Brisbane. Dominic will face his old rival Rafael Nadal in the first round, standing as Rafa's first rival on his comeback trail. Thiem barely survived the first qualifying round and had to work hard in the second as well.

The Austrian beat Giulio Zeppieri 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two and a half hours, prevailing and setting the first-round clash with the Spaniard, with whom he trained a few days ago. Zeppieri fired 14 aces. However, he served at 53% and plagued his chances.

Dominic struggled behind the second serve big time. Still, he defended four out of five break points and grabbed two breaks from five opportunities, enough to emerge at the top. Giulio made a reliable start, serving well in the opener and keeping the pressure on the other side.

Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal will battle in the Brisbane R1.

The Italian held at love in the encounter's first game and broke the Australian at love a few minutes later for an early advantage. Zeppieri kept everything under control in his games, bringing the set home with a hold at love in game nine.

Giulio produced four fine holds in the second set, challenging Dominic to follow that pace. Thiem had to dig deep in three consecutive service games to stay in touch. He survived deuces in game five and faced break points at 3-3.

The Austrian denied a couple of break chances before struggling again at 4-4. Zeppieri missed another break chance, and it would cost him dearly. The Italian wasted game points at 4-5 and dropped four consecutive points, handing the set to the Austrian, who was mighty relieved to force a decider.

They missed a break point in games three and four, staying neck and neck. Giulio found himself 40-15 down in the sixth game before firing up his serve, taking four straight points and making a vital hold. Thiem held after deuce in the next one and moved 5-4 up with a hold at 30, keeping the pressure on the other side.

Zeppieri served to stay in the match in game ten and lost the ground. The Italian played his worst service game since the start of the duel, getting broken at 15 and propelling the Austrian over the finish line.

Dominic Thiem Rafael Nadal Giulio Zeppieri