Thiem Pleased With Grass-Court Opener
Second seed Dominic Thiem started his grass-court season on Monday with a 7-5, 6-3 victory against German qualifier Maximilian Marterer at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Thiem, who was playing his first match since reaching the Roland Garros semi-finals earlier this month (l. to Nadal), saved all seven break points faced and broke the 22-year-old Marterer two times in the 85-minute contest.
The 23-year-old Austrian will meet Dutchman Robin Haase or Spaniard David Ferrer in the second round. “I was very happy with it... [Marterer] already played three matches on the surface and he qualified here, had a good qualification, has a very dangerous serve. I was very aware of this first round,” Thiem said. “I was a little bit lucky as well to save all the break points but I'm happy to be through in two.”
Frenchman Richard Gasquet hit 22 aces and saved 12 of 15 break points against countryman Gael Monfils to prevail 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The first-round contest was their 15th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Monfils now leads the series 8-7. Gasquet will meet either two-time Halle champion Tommy Haas or Aussie Bernard Tomic in the second round.
Rublev, who received a wild card, is playing at a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 106 but the 19 year old is projected to crack the Top 100 for the first time next week.
The right-hander also should climb in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, which will determine seven of the eight 21-and-under players who compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 7-11 November in Milan. Rublev is currently in 10th place in the Race.
German and 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber also moved into the second round, beating Portugal's Joao Sousa 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Kohlschreiber, who also advanced to the final in 2008 (l. to Federer), struck 12 aces in the two-hour victory.
German wild card Dustin Brown brought his usual exciting brand of tennis to the grass, beating Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-7(3), 7-6(4). The German had five match points in the second set but converted his sixth to advance.