Sometimes a loss doesn’t need to be overanalysed.
Dominic Thiem refused to link his opening-round exit on Friday at the Miami Open presented by Itau to a comedown after winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title just days earlier at the BNP Paribas Open. The third seed gave full credit to his opponent, Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, and said he put in an ordinary performance on a day when he needed to be great.
“I had a lot of emotions the last week, but I still had three or four days since then and that should be enough,” said Thiem. “There were some moments like when he gave me the break (at 1-1 in the second set) and I should have continued [with the momentum], but in general, he was just better. I wasn’t quite on my level like last week, but it was an okay match for me.”
Hurkacz isn’t an opponent anyone wants to face these days. The 22-year-old defeated Kei Nishikori en route to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final last week in Indian Wells (l. to Federer) and has a jumped more than 30 spots in the ATP Rankings this year to his current career-high standing of No. 54.
“His first serve is very tough to read and he returned well in situations when he needed it,” said Thiem. “My serve was not big enough, but he put a lot of pressure on it and he deserved to win.”
Location may have also played a role in Friday’s outcome. The high-bouncing courts at Indian Wells suit Thiem’s game perfectly, but he has struggled in Miami in recent years. Although he reached the quarter-finals in 2015, he now sports a 7-5 record at this event and has lost his past two matches here.
But rather than dwell on defeat, Thiem will turn his attention to the clay-court season he has historically excelled in. Last year, he took the title at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon (d. Simon) and finished runner-up at Roland Garros (l. Nadal) and the Mutua Madrid Open (l. Zverev).
He will begin his clay season in earnest next month at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. With his hard-court success in Indian Wells, his fans have plenty of reason to be excited about what he can do on his favourite surface.
“Now it’s clay court time,” said Thiem pointedly. “I’ll go back to Europe soon, rest for a few days and prepare for Europe.”