Dominic Thiem and Stanislas Wawrinka have both claimed their second title of the year as both earned hard fought wins in the final of the ATP 500 events in Acapulco and Dubai respectively. While the Austrian Thiem won a battle of players born in the 1990s against the Australian Bernard Tomic, Wawrinka won the battle of the 30 year old veterans as he beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
The fourth seeded Thiem got off to a slow start as he dropped serve in the fourth game of the first set to go down 1-3. Thiem restored parity as he broke the Tomic serve at love, while serving for the set at 5-3 as he reeled of 12 consecutive points to level at 5-5, and eventually pushed the set into a tiebreaker. Thiem, who had upset Rafael Nadal enroute to his title win on the clay courts of Buenos Aires in Argentina, would clinch it on his second set point at 8-6.
Tomic secured the lone break in the fifth game of the second set as he had to stave off four break points but took the second set 6-4 and then broke serve in the opening game of the decider. However the Austrian would break right back and then win six of the next eight games securing the ‘Guaje’ trophy after one hour and fifty six minutes.
Thiem fired 22 aces as he joined world number one Novak Djokovic (Doha and Melbourne), Stanislas Wawrinka ( Chennai and Dubai) and Roberto Bautista Agut ( Auckland and Sofia) as the only players with multiple titles in 2016. His 18 match wins for the year is two wins above the Spaniard Bautista Agut. He takes home 500 points while Tomic would have to settle for 300 points.
Stanislas Wawrinka extended his winning streak in finals to nine matches by capturing the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title. He defeated the 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-4,7-6(13), in a final lasting one hour fifty four minutes, on his fourth match point in the 30 minute tie-breaker where he saved six set points.
Baghdatis got the first break to go up 3-2 in his 13th tour-level final but then lost serve twice dropping the opening set 4-6. The second set featured no breaks of serve and Wawrinka jumped to a quick 4-1 lead in the tie-break, before the Cypriot won 5 of the next 6 points to set-up a roller coaster and thrilling end to the match with the 28 point tie-break set.
Wawrinka was within two points of losing to the Russian Sergiy Stakhovsky against whom he had also struggled to win in Rotterdam in the opening round match. He is the fifth active player to have won nine or more finals in a row as he joined Novak Djokovic and the German Tommy Haas who too have nine final winning streak. Roger Federer leads the pack having won 24 (also 13 and 10) while Rafael Nadal won 14 consecutive finals ( 9 twice).
Wawrinka now has a 13-2 match record in 2016 and secured 500 points for his maiden Dubai title where he had first round defeats in 2007 and 2008. World number 57 Baghdatis who won his last title at 2010 in Sydney will earn 300 points for his efforts. It was the two time grand slam champion Wawrinka’s 13th career title while Baghdatis has four titles in his career.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]