Dominic Thiem is using these final clay events of the year to play himself into shape and earn some confidence after a very lacklustre year on the ATP Tour so far. The Austrian was in Gstaad last week, but his run was cut short sooner than he hoped.
The Croatia Open run is another one that started with a win, but then he stumbled in the second round. The Austrian simply can't figure out a way to defeat some of the better players, even though he is able to find his best tennis at times.
It's just not good enough overall, and this match was more of that, unfortunately. Lehecka himself has been doing rather well after stunning the tennis community with his performances earlier in the year in Australia. Today was another good one from the youngster, especially when you break down how the match went.
The first set, for example, was one where we saw more rallies played on the serve of Lehecka even though he won. He had to play 31 rallies on his serve, saving a break point in the process. Thiem played only 20, indicating that he won his service games easier, but he didn't save the break point he faced, and that was the issue.
The second set opened fairly well for both players, and Thiem actually took a lead by breaking Lehecka halfway through 4-2. He didn't hold it for long as the Czech player broke back immediately to make it 4-4, and that proved crucial.
Once the ship sailed, Thiem kind of fell apart towards the end allowing his opponent to escape in two sets. The final score was 6-3 7-5 for Lehecka for moves on to face Matteo Arnaldi in the quarter-finals.