The US Open champion Dominic Thiem will take some beating at Roland Garros! The two-time finalist in Paris is seeking the place in the fifth consecutive semi-final of the clay Major, ousting an in-form Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes to reach the last 16.
Ruud has been one of the best players on the slowest surface in 2020 but that wasn't enough to challenge world no. 3 who did everything right to seal the deal in straight sets. It should have been one of the best encounters of the third round but Thiem had different plans, competing on a high level from start to finish to overpower the youngster and remain on the title course.
The Austrian had 32 winners and 28 unforced errors, producing brave shotmaking when it mattered the most and leaving Casper on 21 winners and 38 mistakes. The Norwegian had his chances early on, converting only one out of eight break chances and suffering six breaks of serve from 15 opportunities offered to Thiem, unable to challenge the rival from the baseline or impose his shots.
Dominic had the advantage in the shortest, mid-range and most extended exchanges, taming his strokes nicely and keeping the points on his racquet to steal the rhythm away from Ruud. Dominic forced an error from Casper in the second game to fend off a break chance, dropping five straight points in game four following a forehand error to push Casper 3-1 in front.
Thiem broke back in the next one, overpowering Ruud and surviving three break points in marathon game six to level the score at 3-3. The last year's finalist was yet to show his best tennis, although the result went into his favor, scoring a break at love in game seven to forge a 4-3 advantage.
Dominic Thiem is safely through into the last 16 in Paris.
The Austrian saved a break point in the next one with a backhand down the line winner to remain in front, wasting the opportunity in game nine before closing the opener on his serve for 6-4 after 58 minutes.
Ruud had to work hard at the beginning of the second set, allowing Thiem to seize the sixth break chance that pushed him in front. The Austrian survived a scare in game four to stay ahead, placing a perfect backhand down the line winner at 5-3 for another break and the set.
The Norwegian had nothing more left in the tank against the rival who played better and better as the encounter progressed. Dominic scored break in games four and six in set number three, moving over the top with an ace at 5-1 to race into the fourth round where he could face a former champion Stan Wawrinka.