By John Stonestreet
LONDON (Reuters) – Unseeded Czech Jiri Vesely won a battle of the tiebreaks to sink Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem in three tough sets in the second round at Wimbledon on Thursday.
Bets placed on a clash between two exciting players from the emerging tennis generation would have been weighted towards the Austrian.
His top-10 ranking consolidated at the French Open with a run to the semi-finals, Thiem had won 18 of the 28 tiebreaks he has played this year while the 64th-ranked Czech had lost 12 of his 16.
Thiem had also come out on top in the two previous main tour matches between the 22-year-olds and had won seven of eight outings on grass this year, including an inaugural title on the surface in this month’s Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Stuttgart.
But in a pulsating 2-3/4-hour encounter during which both players successfully varied their game, punctuating long baseline rallies with bouts of serve-and-volley and the occasional dropshot, the pressure of holding a misfiring serve eventually told on Thiem.
He conceded all three of the decisive points in Vesely’s 7-6(4) 7-6(5) 7-6(3) win on forehand errors — having earlier passed up three break points in the 11th game of the first set.
The Czech will play Portuguese 31st seed Joao Sousa in the third round.
(Reporting by John Stonestreet; editing by Clare Lovell)