Monte Carlo (Principality of Monaco) (AFP) – Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem saved a match point in a gripping Monte Carlo Masters second-round win over Russian youngster Andrey Rublev on Tuesday.
The two-time French Open semi-finalist recovered from a set down to book a last-16 clash against either Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 victory.
Rublev spurned a match point on his own serve late in the deciding set as he fired a forehand narrowly wide.
“I had to fight from the first to the last point, which of course I did well. But I was also lucky at the end when he had a match point and missed a forehand by 10 centimetres or so,” said Thiem.
“I was 10 centimetres from being out of the tournament.”
The 24-year-old Thiem could also have to face champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals if he can get past Djokovic or the in-form Coric on Thursday.
“It’s a horrible draw for sure, from the first round on,” conceded Thiem.
“But I’m happy that I played two hours and forty (minutes)… But I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV and then playing the winner on Thursday.”
After Rublev had edged a tight first set, Thiem clinched the second on his fourth set point before racing into a 4-1 lead in the decider.
His 20-year-old opponent cut loose, though, claiming four straight games to serve for the match.
But Rublev struck wide on match point and ran out of steam, double faulting to hand Thiem a place in round three as the world number seven won the last three games on the spin.