By Florian Heer
(August 2, 2014) For almost the entire Friday evening it was raining but the sun returned for Day 6 at the bet-at-home Cup in Kitzbühel featuring the youngest final on the ATP World Tour of the year when fifth-seed Dominic Thiem took on David Goffin for the third time. The 23-year-old Belgian Wild Card emerged victorious from the two previous meetings at the qualifying in Acapulco and on grass at London’s Queens Club. The only 20-year-old from Wiener Neustadt is the youngest player ranked inside the top-50, which helped to create a new tennis euphoria in Austria.
It would become an even affair with Thiem having the better start into the final. The world No. 50 capitalized on his first break point of the match in the opening game when Goffin missed a forehand crosscourt. As in the last couple of matches, Thiem had good length in his baseline shots and put a lot of pressure on the Belgian. The “Dominator” served the first set out after 46 minutes. Goffin, however, regained his strength, saved five of six break points he had to face in the entire match and did not even seem to be impressed by the Davis Cup atmosphere on centre court. The Belgian won 71 % of his first service points and eventually closed the match out winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 58 minutes to capture his maiden title on the ATP World Tour.
“I lost against a very strong opponent today,” Theim said. “At the beginning of the second set, I lost my rhythm. I do not know why but of course I also felt a bit tired. Nonetheless, David played very well, took the ball early and hit a couple of great returns. It was a bit similar to my loss against him in Acapulco earlier this year.
“Tomorrow in the morning I’ll fly to Toronto playing my first round match against Gilles Simon on Tuesday. I do not expect very much from this tournament but I hope to get the rhythm for Cincinnati and later I would like to achieve my best Grand Slam result at the US-Open in New York,” the Austrian youngster said.
The winner was understandably happy. “It is an amazing feeling sitting here with the trophy next to me. I think in only a few days, I’ll realize what has happened. I played every point as it was my last. Dominic played very solid but I could make him run and in the end I think he was a bit tired,” Goffin said. “Of course, I had to act like an iceman today on court to cope with this great atmosphere. I’ll take some rest now, go on vacation and then I’ll prepare for the hard court season playing in Winston Salem and then the US-Open,” the Belgian added.
He said that he calls his girlfriend Stephanie after every match. “She is very proud today,” Goffin said and seemed to be really satisfied.
As an all – Finnish combination, Jarkko Nieminen and Henri Kontinen took the doubles title winning the final against Daniele Bracciali and Andrej Golubev 6-1, 6-4 in 58 minutes.
Earlier the day, the final news conference of Kitzbühel’s 70th edition took place. “Since the tournament has been back on ATP World Tour level, it has been growing. You can really feel the enthusiasm of the people here, which is great. The crowd was waiting for a new Austrian tennis star and with Dominic in the final here, this is unbelievable,” tournament director Alex Antonitsch was overwhelmed.
“There is no need for us to acquire players like David Ferrer, just to tell that we have a top-10 guy in our draw. Our goal is to have the best players from Austria and Germany participating and that’s what we achieved this year. A long-term contract with Dominic Thiem doesn’t exist but of course he has an emotional association with the tournament and we hope that this will be kept for a long time. He will be pampered by us, the people and the press,” the former world No. 40 said about the tournament’s strategy.
“Although we had a couple of rainy days this week, we will reach our break-even with spectators up to 35.000 attending. The tournament’s development is great and we hope to even get numbers of 50,000 in the future, which also fosters the figure of tourists coming to Kitzbühel. For the players and the ATP the event has already been ranked inside the top-4 worldwide in terms of hotel accommodation and even inside the top-3 concerning the quality of the player parties,” Antonitsch added with a smile.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.