Thiem Battles Back Past Zverev
Second seed Dominic Thiem booked his place in the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament with a confidence-boosting 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Alexander Zverev in the latest installment of their burgeoning rivalry.
#NextGenATP star Zverev, playing his first match at a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 18 having lifted the Open Sud de France title last week, saved four break points and struck five aces to clinch the first set.
However, World No. 8 Thiem, having held a 3-1 record in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head, dictated play in the next two sets by winning 82 per cent of points on first serve.
“He’s one of the best players in the world right now. He played an amazing match at the Australian Open against Rafa (Nadal), just won his second title in Montpellier, so it was a horrible draw for me,” said Thiem.
“Even though I was 0-4 down I felt pretty good from the start of the match, I was hitting my returns well, used my slice smartly. Overall it was my best performance in a long time. For my confidence this is exactly what I needed, a very good match against a really, really good player.”
Having rallied back, the Austrian earned a second round contest with Gilles Simon. Thiem won their last two encounters to edge the FedEx ATP Head2Head 3-2, and expects another tough task on Thursday. “It’s going to be our sixth meeting, so no surprises. He plays a bit different, a guy who goes for the rallies, doesn’t make any mistakes. It will be a physically demanding match.”
Another Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga impressed with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Apia International Sydney champion Gilles Muller. Tsonga, who reached the Rotterdam final in 2011, did not face a break point and hit 17 winners en route to victory in just over an hour.