Tennis

Dominic Thiem breezes by Daniil Medvedev to capture title in Barcelona

AP, AFP-JIJI

Dominic Thiem capped an impressive week to win the Barcelona Open on Sunday, securing his second title of the year.

The fifth-ranked Austrian beat Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-0 Sunday, a day after he was dominant against Rafael Nadal in the semifinals to become the first player other than Novak Djokovic to defeat the Spaniard on clay four times. Thiem, who didn’t lose a set all week in Barcelona, beat Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final last month.

He’s the first Austrian winner in Barcelona since Thomas Muster, who won in 1995 and 1996.

“Winning this means a lot to me because it’s such a traditional and special tournament,” Thiem said. “Only great players have won here. Rafa has won it 11 times and it means a lot that Muster won it twice. It’s a big moment for me.”

Thiem had lost to Nadal in the Barcelona final two years ago. It was his first final on clay since last year’s French Open, where he also lost to the Spaniard.

The 14th-ranked Medvedev, coming off a semifinal appearance in Monte Carlo, was playing in his first clay court final. He has reached at least the semifinals in five of his nine tournaments this season and has a tour-best 25 wins in 2019. He defeated Kei Nishikori on Saturday to reach the final.

The 23-year-old Russian started well by taking a 3-0 lead with an early break in the first set, but he was never in contention again after Thiem took control of a match that lasted just over an hour.

Thiem dropped only five points in the second set, winning 14 in a row at one stage. He won 12 of the last 13 games.

“I tried my best, but Dominic was too good today,” Medvedev said. “At one point, even just getting a point off him was a great achievement.”

It was the 13th career singles title for the 25-year-old Thiem, the ninth on clay. He next plays in Madrid, where he has been runner-up the last two seasons.

“A title like this always gives you a lot of confidence, so I’ll be in a good mood going into Madrid,” Thiem said. “But the special thing about tennis is that I’ll start from zero in Madrid. All the guys there are really strong, so I’ll need to be ready from the first point.”

On the women’s tour, Czech star Petra Kvitova beat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in Porsche Grand Prix final in Stuttgart, Germany.

A two-time Wimbledon champion and runner-up to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open in January, Kvitova will be chasing her third career major at the French Open next month, and said she had found footing on clay with the triumph.

“It was tougher at the beginning of the week when I played my first and second match. I said that I would need a bit more matches to get used to the clay,” said Kvitova whose best run at Roland Garros was a semifinal spot in 2012.

“Since then I think I’ve really found a good rhythm. There were ups and downs today as well, and I really had to push myself to play more aggressively.

“I was glad to hit a forehand winner down the line on match point.”

Kvitova battled through a tough second set to beat eighth seed Kontaveit, who reached the final on a walkover after World No. 1 Osaka pulled out of their semifinal with an abdominal injury on Saturday.

Kontaveit said that Kvitova was a “role model” after the final, but Czech joked that she didn’t feel like one.

“I don’t think anyone would want to copy the way I move,” she laughed.