After a title win in Rio not long ago the pressure is back on Dominic Thiem to show he can be as effective on a hard court as he is on clay with 6 of his 8 titles coming on the dirt.
Thiem anticipated and delivered in his first match at Indian Wells against a potentially tricky and hard hitting opponent in Jeremy Chardy who played well but Thiem could not have played the big points better which is promising going forward.
There is one point in the seventh game I want to focus on, so here it goes…
First point. Body position to return serve is spot on, gives himself scope to go backhand or forehand and his stance gives him potential forehand sliced body return. Jeremy is always going to go big on serve and it does cost him a lot of cheap points but on this particular point Thiem was just much more clever than the Frenchman.
So we roll it on a little, Chardy goes big down the T and still suggests Thiem is scurrying to the ball but he’s on target to hit the return off the forehand.
You can now see Thiem recovers quickly and this is where Chardy needs to use more of the court which I will come into later but Thiem’s knees are bent and is on his tip toes ready for anything Chardy has to through at him.
Chardy goes down the line and Thiems on the move and hits a wonderful backhand cross court passing shot to take the game.
Chardy court usage
Going back to the point I just analysed what stands out on this breakpoint? Chardys lack of court usage.
Down break point to Thiem and he keeps him in one half of the court which is his the backhand side which is his weaker side but where is the movement? When down break point you have to make it as difficult as possible!
Thinking back to the forehand down the line, there is another option for Chardy which is the forehand cross court but maybe he had a thought of Thiem going for a forehand down the line if he played that shot?