STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Roger Federer squandered two match points and lost to Dominic Thiem 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 in a rain-interrupted Mercedes Cup semifinal on Saturday.
Thiem led 5-0 in the second set before allowing the top-seeded Federer to pull even by winning five straight games. In the tiebreaker, Federer wasted one match point with a smash into the net. On the second, he tried to serve and volley behind a second serve but was passed by an impeccable return. Thiem won the set with a smash.
“I was incredibly nervous. I was fortunate in the tiebreaker but you need good luck to beat the best player on grass,” Thiem said.
Thiem beat Federer in the third round of the Italian Open before Federer took a month off to deal with a back injury. That win was on clay, while Saturday’s came on grass, Federer’s favorite surface.
“I can’t believe that I beat him on grass,” said Thiem, who has little experience on grass. Federer is a seven-time Wimbledon champion.
Thiem won the match when Federer sent a backhand wide on Thiem’s second match point. The match was twice interrupted by rain, both times for 30 minutes. The second delay came right after Thiem broke for 4-3 in the third set.
Federer was still without a title this year. He had knee surgery after losing in the semifinals of the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic and was forced to skip the French Open because of the back injury. He’s ranked No. 3.
Thiem, with three ATP titles this year, reached his maiden Grand Slam semifinals at the French Open, and the Austrian has jumped to No. 7 in the world.
Thiem will play either Juan Martin del Potro or Philipp Kohlschreiber for the title.
MONACO — Dominic Thiem saved a match point and beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.
Rublev was serving for the match at 5-4, 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide. Fifth-seeded Thiem broke him with backhand pass down the line and held for 6-5.
The Austrian was 15-40 up on Rublev’s serve and clinched victory on his first match point, when Rublev double-faulted with a weak serve into the net.
“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” a relieved Thiem said. “But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes).”
Thiem has reached the French Open semifinals for the past two years. He next meets 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric of Croatia, who play their second-round match on Wednesday.
“I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday,” Thiem said.
In the second round later Tuesday, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria faced Pierre-Hugues Herbert and seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille played Mischa Zverev.
In remaining first-round play, there were wins for Gilles Simon of France, Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.
MONACO — Jared Donaldson has been fined $6,200 for unsportsmanlike conduct after angrily ranting at the chair umpire during his first-round loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The American became irate with a call when Ramos-Vinolas was serving at 3-2, 40-0 in the second set on Monday. Donaldson thought the serve was out and pointed to the ground, shouting, “There’s a mark right here,” and then screaming the same words in the face of French umpire Arnaud Gabas.
He then squared up to Gabas and shouted: “Yes it is, yeah it is,” as he insisted his mark was right and the umpire’s call of in was wrong.
Donaldson, who yelled again at Gabas before the supervisor came on, received a code violation. He lost 6-3, 6-3.