Dominic Thiem booked his place in the third round in Indian Wells after seeing off Jeremy Chardy in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 14 minutes.
In this, their first meeting, the Austrian made the perfect start as his opponent attempted to go toe to toe with him from the back of the court. Upon an adjustment in tactics, Chardy found more joy and got involved in the contest but could not break the 23-year-old’s serve in set number one. An early break in the second gave the Frenchman real belief, but that advantage did not last long and a poor conversion rate on break point chances proved to be the 30-year-old’s undoing in this encounter.
* Article originally published by me for UBITennis.net *
In the opening game Chardy allowed a 40-15 advantage on serve to slip as he threw in a couple of double faults to hand his opponent an immediate break of serve. After a tough beginning to the match the Frenchman quickly acknowledged that trading from the back of the court was going to be a losing tactic against the Austrian.
In the fourth game Chardy began to mix his game up, approaching the net frequently. Thiem struggled to deal with the shift in play and found himself having to save two break back points. He saved the first with a fierce forehand down the line winner before the Frenchman went after the second serve and missed his return to squander the second opportunity. An erratic forehand from the Austrian spurned a chance to hold before he had to face a third break point. In the rally which ensued it was Chardy who broke down first, failing to get down low enough to return one of the Austrian’s trademark one-handed backhands into court. Thiem managed to come through and hold to move 3-1 in front.
The tactic of coming to the net was proving to be effective for the Frenchman, winning six out of the eight points over the course of the first set as he moved to 0-30 on the Austrian’s serve once again. This time Thiem was able to reel off four points in a row, closing with aces to extend his lead. The missed chances for Chardy came back to bite him as his opponent, seeded eight at this event, struck a stunning backhand cross court passing shot on the run to secure a double break.
The 23-year-old had no trouble closing out the first set, making just four unforced errors compared to Chardy’s 13, as he held to love to seal it 6-2.
The start to the second set was a complete contrast to the first, with Chardy holding with ease before racing to a 0-40 advantage on the Austrian’s serve. In an error-strewn game from the eighth seed, Thiem netted yet another forehand to relinquish his serve for the first time in the match.
After making such a positive start to the set, all Chardy’s good work was undone as Thiem came bouncing right back. At break point down the 30-year-old looked out of ideas as he attempted a forehand down the line winner off a rallying ball. The Frenchman missed the mark by a considerable margin and dropped serve before the Austrian quickly levelled things up at two games all.
After a series of routine service holds from both players, it was Chardy whose serve broke down first at a crucial time in the ninth game. Thiem stepped up further into the court to go after the Frenchman’s serve and it worked as he brought up two break points. After deciding to retreat when presented with the first chance he was punished, but the Austrian drew an error from his opponent in the following extended rally to earn the chance to serve for the match.
The tenth game was a tough battle and Thiem had to rely on firing down aces down the middle when down 15-30 and at break point. The 23-year-old had to face another break point, but once again found a timely first serve which Chardy could not return. After that scare the Austrian only needed one chance to secure victory, hitting another first serve, which went unreturned, to seal a 6-2, 6-4 win.
The eighth seed advances to the third round and now awaits the winner of the match between 29th seed Mischa Zverev and Joao Sousa.