Australia’s John Millman took on Austria’s Dominic Thiem on centre court in Hamburg for their round two match. The top seed after showing solid form on clay in 2018 was expected to win.
Thiem had several break points in the third game of the opening set and was able to convert the 15-40 point after a fourth unforced error of the game from the Australian. Millman had started the game with a double fault and then missed an easy backhand that he hit into the net. Millman was playing a loose game and gave Thiem three break points as he dragged a forehand wide. Millman would quickly need to improve his game or the match would be over in under an hour.
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Photo: HAMBURG, GERMANY – JULY 24: Dominic Thiem in action during the German Tennis Championships at Rothenbaum on July 24, 2018 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Thiem held the next game to love to consolidate his break and lead 3-1 after 12 minutes. In the next game, the unforced errors continued as the world no. 50 fell 0-30 behind, then 0-40 with another unforced error that he hit wide. Thiem had won 12 of the last 13 points to be taking control of the first set. Millman worked his way back to deuce before after putting together several nice deep groundstrokes it was another unforced error that handed Thiem another break point. The story of the match so far continued as Millman hit a makeable shot into the net for another break point, then Millman pushed too hard and missed wide to give Thiem a 4-1 lead after 17 minutes.
The Austrian is the next best player on clay after the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal. He defeated Nadal in Madrid’s quarterfinal before losing to Alexander Zverev in the final. Thiem, the current world no. 8, then went on to play in the final at Roland Garros, this time losing to Nadal.
Millman had a look at three break points at 4-1 but Thiem came up with some big shots to fight off the breakpoints and lead 5-1. In the next game, Millman got out to a 40-15 lead before Thiem got to deuce, but the Australian held off his opponent to at least make him serve out the set, and after 33 minutes that is what he did to win the set 6-2.
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Photo: Australia’s John Millman plays a return. Thiem had too much power and consistency in their round two match in Hamburg. (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
It was not looking good for Millman after he again was broken in the first game of the second set. With the way, Thiem was playing it was looking unlikely that Millman would fight his way back into the match, but you never know in tennis. After getting taken to deuce in the second game, Thiem was able to hold serve for a 2-0 lead. Millman got on the board in the second set to trail 2-1, then Thiem continued his solid play to win to love for a 3-1 advantage.
After Millman held serve again, Millman got to deuce with Thiem serving, but as he did throughout the match Thiem was able to up the tempo and outhit the Australian. Back-to-back errors saw Thiem go to 4-2.
Another tight game followed and Thiem was gifted another break point after a Millman error, but the Austrian returned the favour to take it back to deuce, before Millman could not handle a big shot from Thiem to give his opponent yet another break point which after a long rally was converted as Millman hit into the net.
Thiem now stepped up to serve out the match and book a spot in the third round against Nicolas Jarry from Chile after Jarry had received a walkover win due to a hip injury for Richard Gasquet.
Thiem was set up for a down the line shot on match point that would have given him the win, but he pulled it just wide, but another match point was still up for grabs which Millman was able to save after chasing down a shot that clipped the net. Millman again could not handle the power of shot from Thiem and match point number three was up for grabs and Millman hit the return of serve into the net to hand Thiem a 6-2, 6-2 victory after one hour and 12 minutes.
The winners count favoured Thiem 17-11 and the unforced errors were 27 from Millman and 22 from Thiem.
Despite losing in the second round, Millman will climb inside the top 50 and achieve another career-high ranking.