Thiem Tames Donskoy To Open 2018 Campaign
Just four years later, the Austrian is a star on the ATP World Tour and he showed it in his 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Evgeny Donskoy on Monday. The top seed, who is now ranked No. 5, won a stunning 92 per cent of his first-serve points and overcame a strong performance by the Russian in the opening set to earn his first triumph of the new campaign.
“It was a good victory because [of a] tough opponent… after a pretty long period without any matches,” Thiem said. “After a good start, it got pretty close in the first set… at the end I'm satisfied with most parts of my game.”
Seventh-seeded Fernando Verdasco appeared in jeopardy of beginning his 2018 in the opposite manner — with a thud. But a sudden shift in momentum saw the Spaniard run away with the final 10 games of his season opener to defeat Dudi Sela 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.
The Israeli broke Verdasco three times to clinch the opening set and earned breaks in each of the left-hander’s first three service games in the second set to take a commanding 4-2 lead. But after breaking back for 4-3, Verdasco battled through a 12-point game on his serve — saving two break points, which if converted would have allowed Sela to serve for the match — to completely turn the momentum, which eventually led to his victory.
Verdasco's next opponent will be 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Andrey Rublev, who advanced to the second round when Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who jumped 382 spots in the ATP Rankings last year, retired due to illness while trailing the Russian 1-6. The pair have split their two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with Verdasco winning more recently at the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters.
Top Doubles Seed Survives
It was certainly a thrilling start to the doubles campaign for Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who saved two match points before defeating Marcin Matkowski and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-5. The Polish-Pakistani pairing broke to serve for the match at 6-5 in the second set but could not convert on the opportunity.