Dominic Thiem vs Kevin Anderson ATP Madrid tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Nadal-slayer Thiem set to make back-to-back Madrid Open finals

Leye Aduloju in ATP 12 May 2018
  • Dominic Thiem vs Kevin Anderson is live from Madrid on Saturday, 12 May from 4:00pm local time/ 3:00pm BST
  • Thiem is 0-6 against Anderson, but all six previous meetings have been on hard courts
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Dominic Thiem. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

After producing a sensational performance to take down Rafael Nadal in the quarter finals of the Madrid Open, Dominic Thiem attempts to reach back-to-back finals in the Spanish capital when he takes on Kevin Anderson on Saturday. 

Dominic Thiem vs Kevin Anderson ATP Mutua Madrid Open tennis is live from Madrid on Saturday, 12 May from 4:00pm local time/ 3:00pm BST 
Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

In one of the more bizarre head-to-heads going around on the ATP Tour, Thiem has never beaten Anderson in their six previous matches, but all those encounters have been on hard courts, and the Austrian will get an excellent chance of breaking his duck against the South African when the match-up shifts to clay for the first time on Saturday. 

For all the good work Thiem has done in the last couple of seasons- he has been a top-ten player since June 2016- he has not won an ATP title higher than the 500 level, with seven of his nine titles coming at ATP 250 tournaments. However, with Rafael Nadal out of the Madrid draw, the Austrian is arguably the favourite to go on and claim his maiden Masters 1000 crown. 

Thiem is of course the architect of Nadal's Madrid exit, producing his best performance of the season to take out the King of Clay in the quarter finals, ending the Spaniard's 21-match winning streak on the dirt. In a performance reminiscent of the one he served up in beating Nadal in Rome last year, Thiem took the battle to the Spaniard, pushing him back with aggressive but controlled ball-striking, and ripping inside-out forehand winners almost at will. 

Thiem got Nadal edgy with his power from the back of the court, and after missing two break points in the opening game of the match, the Austrian carved out the first break in the seventh game following back-to-back forehand errors from Nadal. Thiem failed to serve out the opening set at 5-4, as Nadal mounted a late resistance to keep his 50-set winning streak on clay alive, but the Spaniard then played a shocking game to lose serve again, and Thiem, presented with a second chance, closed out the set with an ace out wide. 

The underdog continued to force the issue in the second set, jumping out to a 3-1 lead, but he played his first really lose game of the match to drop his serve at 3-2, spraying a couple of wild forehands beyond the tramlines to allow Nadal back in the contest. However, the world number seven was always in charge of this one, and he won the final three games, breaking an increasingly wobbly Nadal twice to close out a superb win fittingly with an inside-out forehand winner. 

“I had to play an extraordinary match, and that's what I did," said Thiem. "It takes a really good match to beat Rafa on clay, but I think a very important thing was that I went in with the attitude that I can beat him. Obviously, two weeks ago in Monte-Carlo, he killed me love and two. It was very important I went into the match with a positive attitude, with an attitude to win".

Thiem had been below par for most of the season- he had his now customary struggles on hard courts, losing to Tennys Sandgren in the fourth round of the Australian Open, and retiring from a third-round meeting with Pablo Cuevas at Indian Wells with an ankle injury which also ruled him out of Miami. He won only two games in a crushing loss to Rafael Nadal in the quarter finals in Monte Carlo, before falling at the same stage to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Barcelona. 

His start to the Madrid Open was not the smoothest, as he needed three sets to get past Federico Delbonis and Borna Coric, who had dominated the opening half of that third-round meeting and served for the match in the second set. Thiem survived that massive scare; and went up a number of gears to muscle past Nadal in the quarter finals. 

If he maintains that level through the rest of the week, he will most likely win the tournament, but his most immediate concern will be picking up his first win over Anderson.


It's been a breakthrough week for Anderson, who is into his first Masters 1000 semi-final. The South African had lost all of his 10 previous quarter finals at this level, but he finally broke that jinx on Friday in Madrid, beating Serbian, Dusan Lajovic to reach the last four. 

Kevin Anderson. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Anderson and Lajovic exchanged breaks midway through the opening set, but it was the big-serving South African who dominated the ensuing tie break, taking the set on his second set point. Seeking his second top-ten win of the week, and the second in his career, Lajovic hit back to take the second set, with a solitary break of serve in the sixth game enough to see him through; and push the match to a decider. One break also decided the final set, only that this time, it went to Anderson, who struck to love in the fourth game. The world number eight saved a break point as he attempted to consolidate the break, but that was the only major hiccup on his way to closing out a very significant victory after two hours and 14 minutes.

“Of course, I knew the opportunity existed today, Anderson said after the match. “I thought first step was putting myself in that position. I was able to do that. Going out there today, I just really focused on what I needed to do”. 

“I really wanted to break through and be in the semi-finals. It was a goal that I set myself. It doesn't mean that I'm done. It definitely feels good. It was a mini goal accomplished for me today.”

The South African is into his fourth semi-final of a season that has already yielded a title in New York and finals in Pune and Acapulco. Anderson also reached quarter finals at Indian Wells and Miami in what has been a solid year for the 31-year-old. He fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas in his first clay-court match of the season in Estoril, but he has responded well in Monte Carlo, taking out Mikhail Kukushkin, Philipp Kohlschreiber and now, Lajovic to reach the semi-finals. The 31-year-old had never before gone past the third round in the Spanish capital; and had arrived the 2018 edition on a three-match losing streak in the tournament, but he has been breaking new grounds in the last year or so; and has done so again this week in Madrid.

Anderson was as low as No. 80 in the world in January 2017 after enduring an injury-riddled year, but he has done a superb job of working his way back into the top ten. He was back in the top 20 by the end of 2017- the year he contested the US Open final- and his fine start to 2018 has lifted him back into the top 10.

Can he take down Dominic Thiem on Saturday to reach his first Masters 1000 final?

The good news for Anderson is that he possesses a 6-0 record against Thiem, but the bad news is that the seventh meeting will be on clay, and that completely alters the dynamics of this match-up in Thiem’s favour. Like all good clay-courters, Thiem is rock solid in defence on this surface, and he backs that up with the firepower to hit through anyone. Anderson will have a hard time dealing with the Thiem forehand, and I don’t think he is consistent enough on the backhand wing to put Thiem’s single hander under pressure, and when the Austrian sets up on that shot, he can be very devastating. The serve will again be the key for Anderson- if he gets in a high percentage of first serves, and is able to shorten the points, then he’ll have a chance of taking down Thiem.

All of that will be academic if Thiem touches the level he reached against Nadal. He is the superior player on clay, and except he throws in a totally abject performance, he will advance to his second straight Madrid Open final.

Dominic Thiem vs Kevin Anderson is live from Madrid on Saturday, 12 May from 4:00pm local time/ 3:00pm BST
Watch and bet on the match live at bet365 > live streaming > Dominic Thiem vs Kevin Anderson  (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Dominic Thiem vs Kevin Anderson ATP Madrid tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Nadal-slayer Thiem set to make back-to-back Madrid Open finals

Dominic Thiem takes on Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday. Will Thiem make back-to-back Madrid finals? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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