Dominic Thiem earns much-needed win over Filip Krajinovic in Zadar

Dominic Thiem made a winning start at the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open Challenger

by Jovica Ilic
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Dominic Thiem earns much-needed win over Filip Krajinovic in Zadar
© Stream screenshot

Former world no. 3 Dominic Thiem scored his first tournament win of the year at the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open Challenger. Thiem took down former top-30 star Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6 in an hour and 39 minutes, booking a place in the second round.

It was their first clash since Cincinnati 2020, and Thiem made a strong start en route to a 6-2, 5-2 lead. Filip bounced back and saved three match points in the tenth game, extending the battle and pulling back another break to arrange a tie break, only to lose it 7-4.

Both players struggled behind the initial shot on a clay court, winning under 60% of the points after landing in the first serve. Also, Krajinovic claimed four points behind the second serve, losing 60% of the points in his games and suffering seven breaks from 12 chances offered to his opponent.

The Austrian gave serve away five times from seven break points, losing pace in the second set but sealing the deal without playing a decider. The Serb netted a forehand in the first game of the encounter and faced a break point.

Krajinovic placed another forehand wide and experienced an early setback. Thiem cemented the break with a hold at 15 in game two, defending nicely and gaining confidence. Filip played another loose forehand in the third game, offering Dominic two break chances.

The Serb stayed focused and claimed four straight points, closing the game and reducing the deficit to 2-1.

Dominic Thiem, Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

Dominic sprayed a forehand error in the fourth game, dropping seven points in a row and presenting Filip with three break chances.

The Austrian defended two before the Serb seized the third with a backhand down the line return winner, pulling the break back and leveling the score at 2-2. Instead of building on that, Krajinovic struggled on serve in the fifth game, facing two break points and getting broken on the second after Thiem's forehand winner at the net.

Dominic drew Filip's mistake in the sixth game, holding at 15 and opening a 4-2 advantage. The Serb played another poor service game, sending a forehand wide and facing three break points in the seventh game. Krajinovic hit a loose forehand on the first, getting broken at love and pushing Thiem 5-2 in front.

Dominic Thiem ousted Filip Krajinovic in Zadar.

The Austrian served for the set in game eight and forced the Serb's mistake for a hold at 30, taking the opener 6-2 in 35 minutes. Struggling to impose his strokes, Filip sent a backhand long at the beginning of the second set and played against three break points.

The Serb landed a forehand wide on the first, getting broken at love and dropping five straight games. Dominic closed the sixth game with a drop shot winner, rattling off six games and controlling the scoreboard. Krajinovic reduced the deficit with a hold at 15 in game three before Thiem clinched the next one with a service winner, moving 3-1 in front.

Filip hit a loose volley at the net in the fifth game, falling 4-1 behind and not looking very interested.

Dominic Thiem, Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

However, Dominic squandered three game points in the sixth game and converted a break point with a volley winner, reducing the deficit to 4-2.

Thiem grabbed another break in the seventh game, forging a 5-2 advantage and serving for the victory. Making one last push, Filip cracked a backhand down the line winner in the eighth game, pulling one break back and extending his chances.

The Serb closed the ninth game with a service winner, needing another break in the next one to stay in contention. A two-time Roland Garros finalist served for the win for the second time at 5-4 and landed an ace for three match points.

Krajinovic saved them and painted a volley winner at the net for a break chance. Filip seized it after Dominic's backhand error, presenting a massive comeback and locking the result at 5-5. The Austrian left that setback behind and clinched a break at 15 in game 11 for a 6-5 lead, serving for the win for the third time.

Thiem sprayed a double fault, offering Krajinovic three break points and getting broken on the first when his forehand landed wide. Dominic fired a forehand down the line winner in the first point before failing to control a tough volley in the third point, bringing Filip back to the positive side of the scoreboard.

Dominic Thiem, Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open Challenger 2024© Stream screenshot

The Serb landed two winners and moved 3-2 in front, hoping for a complete turnaround. The Austrian claimed two points on his serve for 4-3 and earned a mini-break in the ninth point after the Serb's poor drop shot attempt.

Thiem claimed an entertaining point at the net at 5-4 with a volley winner, earning two more match points. Krajinovic missed a backhand on the first, sending his rival over the top despite a solid effort in the second part of the set.

Dominic Thiem Filip Krajinovic
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