World number eight Dominic Thiem is preparing to face the mercurial Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at the Italian Open once again.
The talented Thiem brought Nadal’s record-setting run to end at the Madrid Open last week, surprising all by knocking out the then world number one in straight sets.
Now, as the clay court swing stops off in Rome, the Austrian finds himself in the same quarter of the draw as Nadal again. But Thiem is ready for round two with the King of Clay.
“I went in with the attitude that I can beat him,” the 24-year-old told atpworldtour.com.
“It was very important I went in with a positive attitude, with an attitude to win. Like this I should go in every match against him.
“I played a very good tournament in Madrid. Here in Rome, again, not the best draw, I would say. A little bit unlucky again. But I have to see. Last year, I did really well. The change from Madrid to here, it’s very different. I hope I can do it again here.”
However, Thiem still has to overcome the first hurdle in Rome, which is fiery local Fabio Fognini. While Thiem has not lost a set to the veteran in two meetings, anything is possible when Fognini is in front of his home crowd.
“Normally, you don’t really know what to expect from him,” conceded Thiem, who faces him on Wednesday.
“But I think in Rome it’s a little bit different. He’s at home here. Amazing fans are here, and the atmosphere is really good for him. He’s always played well here, last year beat Murray and also in the past had very good results.”