PARIS (REUTERS) – Austrian Dominic Thiem was made to sweat before advancing into the French Open quarter-finals as he ended Frenchman Hugo Gaston’s dream run with a 6-4 6-4 5-7 3-6 6-3 victory on Sunday (Oct 4).
The third seed, who was beaten by claycourt master Rafael Nadal in the final of the last two editions, was clearly frustrated against the resourceful 20-year-old but eventually pulled through to set up a clash with Argentine 12th seed Diego Schwartzman.
Things went Thiem’s way in the first two sets, with the Austrian needing only one break in each to put himself on track for a straightforward win.
Gaston’s first break of the match early in the third set was a sign of trouble to come, but after breaking straight back, it seemed like Thiem had a grip on the encounter.
The local favourite, however, continued to mix up his game with drop shots and Thiem was derailed, only regaining control in the last part of the decider, prevailing on his second match point.
“He’s got such a big touch in his hand, his drop shots are from another planet. I must have sprinted 400 times to the net,” said Thiem, who is on course to collide with 12-times champion Nadal in the semi-final, on court Philippe Chatrier.
“If he continues like this he’s gonna be a huge player and give this stadium a lot of joy.
“I’m lucky I made it through today.”