Match between Andy Murray and Dominic Thiem match summary and rankings:
Murray, 12-1, won 6-4, 6-2.
Murray, 6-3, ranked 1st in the world.
Thiem, 10-6, ranked 3rd in the world.
The match was a closely contested one between a two-time Grand Slam champion and a young man who has been impressing around the ATP Tour.
“Dominic played a very good match tonight,” Murray said in an interview. “In a lot of places, the conditions weren’t ideal, but he played really well, and he deserves a lot of credit.”
The differences between Murray’s three titles this year and Thiem’s three victories are minimal.
And it’s obvious Murray has handled Thiem’s challenge better than Thiem has handled his.
Murray’s consistency, guile and drive on clay have made him a difficult man to beat, and he’s the favorite to win his second Stockholm Open.
Yet there’s no certainties about what the world’s top two clay-court players can do in Stockholm.
Rod Laver Arena, where the French Open takes place, has five of the top 10 players in the world. Every day at Roland Garros, the second grand slam of the year, the favorites either win (Rafael Nadal) or draw a tough match (Roger Federer).
If and when the two meet on clay again, with the most prestigious of surfaces, a draw is likely to be tougher for both.
For now, Murray will be looking to get more comfortable on the clay, but his brother Jamie beat Thiem in the doubles, 6-4, 6-2.
The top seed’s goal will be to play a full schedule of five matches before the French Open. He doesn’t have to start the French Open at Roland Garros but it would benefit him enormously if he starts as quickly as possible.
Four Grand Slam titles would be a good start, but the three Grand Slams already won were achieved, in part, through slogging through Grand Slam tournaments in recent years.
Only once in his career has he won both of the major events in the same year. That was in 2011.
But that year, he didn’t face three French challengers in one year.
But not even the seedings have worked in his favor on the clay of 2017.
Gilles Simon lost to Richard Gasquet in the second round, and Thiem lost to Sam Querrey in the third round.
“It’s always nice to have that sort of support at a tournament like this,” Murray said. “It’s not always fair, I guess, that players aren’t seeded a little bit lower, but that’s the way it goes.”
The highly productive year begins on Friday in the London market, where Novak Djokovic will play either Dominic Thiem or Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Rafael Nadal will play in the first round against Borna Coric.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka was forced to withdraw from the ATP 1000 event in San Jose, Calif., after retiring in the final against Dominic Thiem. Wawrinka is still dealing with a knee injury.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the doubles at the mixed tournament in Stockholm, one day after reaching the final at the Australian Open.