Dominic Thiem’s return from a long injury layoff ended prematurely in the quarterfinals on Friday as he went down to Sebastian Baez of Argentina in the Nordea Open in Bastad.
Baez quelled a second-set comeback by Thiem as he went on to win 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 in a hard-fought contest.
The Argentine soaked up Thiem’s heavy ball striking and recovered from squandering a match point on the Austrian’s serve at 5-4 in the second set to eventually advance after two hours and 51 minutes.
“It was such a tough match. So close,” Baez said in his on-court interview after the match.
“Dominic played well today and I hope to see more of him because he is a great player, so I hope he can return to the level we know. I am happy I won today and to stay in the tournament,” Baez was quoted as saying in a report by the ATP Tour.
“I think we both played well today, I enjoyed the fight. The tournament and the grounds are good, so I am happy to stay here. The people are so nice, I feel comfortable. I now need to recover as best as I can,” the winner added.
The former World No. 3 Thiem earned his first tour-level win in 14 months when he defeated Emil Ruusuvuori in the first round before eliminating fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
However, the Austrian, who missed the second half of last season due to injury, was unable to cope with Baez’s intensity in the third set, with the 21-year-old triumphing in his first ATP meeting against the 2020 U.S. Open champion Thiem.
Baez is making his debut in Bastad and will face Andrey Rublev or Serbian Laslo Djere in the last four. The Argentine clinched his maiden tour-level title on clay in Estoril in April and is now up to No. 31 in the ATP Live Rankings.