Thiem the Future, Stephens Stays Relevant at ATP/WTA Acapulco
by Jeremy Davis | February 28th, 2016, 12:03 pm
  • 18 Comments

In February Austrian Dominic Thiem put a stake in the ground as a likely Grand Slam winner on multiple surfaces once the “Big 4″ (is there a Big 4, or a Big 1?) comes to an end.


Earlier in the month he beat Spanish veterans Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro on clay, claiming the Buenos Aires title in between. On Saturday he beat Bernard Tomic 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 for the 500-level Abierto Mexicano Telcel Acapulco title on hardcourt to cap a February coming-out party to remember.

“It was unbelievable,” said the 22-year-old Thiem, who will rise to a career-high No. 14. “These three weeks have been amazing. Winning my first 500 title and first hardcourt title, it was just perfect. It was how a final should be, between two young and up-and-coming players. I hope we’re going to play many more finals together. Both of us wanted to win so badly and I’m happy I was the one today.”

Both the first- and second-set fights were a turn-around for Tomic, nicknamed “The Tank Engine,” who a week earlier in Delray Beach admittedly gave up in his first-round match after losing the first set to American journeyman Rajeev Ram.

“It’s not easy, I’d love to win,” said Tomic. “It could have been huge if I won, but I had my chances. That’s the biggest disappointment, having the chance to win. I’m frustrated with myself…I was leading in the first set and then I lost it and I was up a break in the third and gave away my serve straight away. But he was playing very well and he’s an amazing competitor. Every point he’s competing. In the final of big tournaments, you have to take your chances in the big moments. I didn’t take it.”

Thiem is 13-1 record in February, winning Buenos Aires, Acapulco and reaching the semifinals in Rio de Janeiro. He has the most match wins on the 2016 ATP World Tour.

Tomic fell to 3-2 in career finals.

In the women’s final American Sloane Stephens edged former Australian Open finalist and 2014 Acapulco champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5).

Stephens, who has been much maligned in the U.S. media after stuttering to take the stage from the near-retirement Williams sisters, has now amassed two titles in 2016 after winning her debut at Auckland.

“I got a little bit better today because of her, and I wouldn’t want to have this memory with anyone else,” Stephens said of Cibulkova on court.

Stephens led Cibulkova by a set and a break but could not close out the 26-year-old. In the third-set tiebreak Stephens jumped to a 5-2 lead, closing out the Slovak on her third match point.

“I’m a little disappointed with the result today, but that’s tennis,” said Cibulkova, who fell to 4-8 in career finals, her last win at 2014 Acapulco. “I hope to be back here next year and maybe get the trophy again.”

Stephens improved to a perfect 3-0 in career finals.


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Rafael Nadal Avoids The Hardcourts, Will Play Acapulco Clay In February
David Ferrer’s Status For March Is Uncertain After Suffering A Groin Injury In Acapulco
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18 Comments for Thiem the Future, Stephens Stays Relevant at ATP/WTA Acapulco

Van Persie Says:

Finally!


AndyMira Says:

VP!Why i’m not surprised to see your glorious name was the first to comment?he!he!


Van Persie Says:

AM, was nice chatting with you
Have to go now offline. “See U” soon again ;)


AndyMira Says:

Aww VP..i’m just starting warming up my fingers!


Van Persie Says:

I have some guests now, cannot write anymore :(. byeess


Dave Says:

The match of the tournament for me was the Thiem vs Tursinov match. Since it was a night match and not many people were at the match, we decided to move up to the very front and watch it courtside. What a match. It was a match that Thiem really had to fight through and I thought the more experienced Turnsinov would end up winning. But that fighting spirit in Thiem really showed and I think winning that match gave him confidence for the rest of the tournament.


AndyMira Says:

If you say so VP..have a nice time at work tomorrow!


AndyMira Says:

Dave..for me,the match vs Querrey was the best!seeing Thiem blasted winners left right reminds me of novak..and his defense also was amazing,..the commentators said,his performance that day was out of this world..


AndyMira Says:

Dave..it was nice chatting with you..say hello to your wife ok?Chatting again tomorrow?


Dave Says:

Okay AndyMira,

Take care. Talk to you soon.


Margot Says:

Ahem…..glad tx took my advice after all….;)
@Dave
How nice you had such a fabulous time! Nothing like “live tennis” to make you realise how talented so many players are. What always astonishes me is the speed of the serve. You can hardly see the ball, yet the opponent gets it back!


jane Says:

yep, good to hear you had fun dave!


Humble Rafa Says:

This Timmy Boy is quite a player I tell you.


Dave Says:

Thank you Margot and Jane. For a first ever live tennis experience, I couldn’t have asked for more. This morning walking into the restaurant for breakfast and there was Thiem sitting having breakfast with his team. He looked at me and I looked at him and we both smiled and I congratulated him and he was super nice. I had lots of cool experiences with the players at the hotel. I actually have never liked watching sports live compared to on t.v. when watching any other live sport. Tennis is the first sport that I have watched live that I will say is better live than on t.v. The other sports were a let down live compared to on t.v. You would miss so much. Tennis live is amazing. You see the game more clearly. Now when I watch a match on t.v. I can actually see the game more clearly because of seeing it live.


AndyMira Says:

Hi Dave..honestly,after i read your post..i feel like i’m the one who go there and experience it first hand..if watching Thiem can give you such an amazing experience,i wonder how one can feel if we have the opportunity to watch roger vs rafa or rafa vs nole..God,no wonder the stadium always full when the greats was playing..


RZ Says:

@Dave -what nice experiences for you and your wife. Just curious – how hot and humid was it there? Thiem was sweating like crazy in the final.


RZ Says:

^ oops just realized you never mentioned wife. That was from something else I was reading in another tab.


Dave Says:

RZ,

It was 30 degrees or hotter most days. It’s very humid because it’s right on the ocean. As long as you get seats on the shady end, you are good for all the matches. The matches never start until after 4 oclock. I did get heat stroke, but that was my own fault. I was watching all of the practices in the pure sunlight in the middle of the day. I was one of the only ones in the stadium watching the practices. I watched Millman vs Nishikori in practice play a practice set and Millman won. When they play in practice, they both want to win and play and get frustrated like a normal match. My advice is that as long as you stay out of the direct sunlight, you will be okay because the matches are all played at night. I got so excited and didn’t control myself and watched so much tennis in the hot sun. One of the highlights for me believe it or not was watching the 2 days of qualifying matches on Saturday and Sunday. It’s so cheap to watch them. Like 100 pesos a day. Like 6 dollars American a day. There were some brilliant matches on the qualifying days.

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