Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - Dominic Thiem plays Ivo Karlovic in the 4th round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 2 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
“I had very few chances on his serve, but I used them very well. In my own service games, I was also very focused,” said Thiem, who lost just four points on his serve on the night (20-for-24).
A pair of ill-timed double faults from Karlovic would give Thiem a set-point in the opener at 4-5, 15-40, and the Austrian made good on the opportunity. Thiem struck again early in the second set, a huge forehand pass giving him a service break and a 3-1 advantage. The 25-year-old would go on to seal the match in just 58 minutes.
Coming into the contest, the bearded Karlovic boasted a tournament-best 54 aces. The world No. 89 added four more on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to carry the 40-year-old to victory.
“I have so much respect from him because he’s 40, still competing on a world-class level,” said Thiem, who improved to 11-5 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “I was curious how it was going to be. It was my first match against him on the tour. I’m surprised. Some guys, like Gilles Simon, I play almost every week. Ivo, I had never faced him. I hope I can avoid him again for the next period of time.”
Thiem’s quarterfinal opponent will be Frenchman Gael Monfils, who’s showing some new life in 2019. After falling out of the Top 40 last year, the 32-year-old has climbed his way back to No. 19. On Wednesday night, he downed upset specialist Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-0, 6-2, in just under an hour.
Kohlschreiber had taken down 31st seed Nick Kyrgios and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in succession en route to his second straight Round of 16 appearance in the desert, but a third straight upset was too big an ask. The German veteran, 35, won just three points on his serve in the one-sided first set, which lasted just 20 minutes.
Thiem is a perfect 4-0 against Monfils.
“He’s a tough player, a Top-10 player for a couple of years now,” said Monfils. “I always have trouble against him. I’ll have to play aggressively and to the best of my abilities to win.”