VIENNA, October 25, 2016
Third seed and local favourite Dominic Thiem opened his title bid at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna on Tuesday evening with an impressive 6-0, 6-3 victory over fellow Austrian Gerald Melzer, who was granted a wild card. The 23-year sent down eight aces, saved both of the two break points he faced, converting four of his own to advance in 693 minutes.
“I had a great start into the match, which obviously helped a lot,” Thiem told. “I gained a second break and therewith I took the opening set. The second set was much closer but overall it was good match.
I am pretty relieved to have a successful start, as this tournament is a highlight for me. I didn’t want to lose in the first round, so I have the chance to play at least one more match.”
Thiem, who fell in the opening round in the previous two years, goes onto face Viktor Troicki next. The 30-year-old from Serbia outlasted South African Kevin Anderson, rallying 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in two hours and 17 minutes.
Two time Vienna champion Jürgen Melzer upset fourth seed and London contender Roberto Bautista-Agut, winning 6-3, 7-5. The 35-year-old Austrian wild card capitalized on five of his seven break point opportunities to prevail in one hour and 32 minutes to set a second round clash with either Fabio Fognini of Italy or Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. “It’s such a pleasure to play at home,” Melzer stated afterwards.
Earlier the day, defending champion David Ferrer benefited from the retirement of Kyle Edmund leading 3-2 in the opening. The fifth seed from Spain fell to the British #NextGen star in a third-set tiebreaker last week at Antwerp. Edmund was unable to continue due to what appeared to be a hip injury after only 18 minutes of play. Ferrer will next take on
The tournament’s number six Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated 35-year-old German qualifier Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4 in 72 minutes. The Frenchman, who is currently ranked on 16th position in the ATP Race to London, awaits the winner of the encounter between Stephane Robert of France or Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Feliciano López knocked out seventh favourite Lucas Pouille from France, who was making his tournament debut. The 2004 Vienna champion from Spain fired 15 aces, winning 71 per cent of his first service points and saved one match point to seal a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 victory in two hours and seven minutes.
“I knew that it was going to be tough,” Lopez said. “I’m very happy with the result… I’m very happy to be back.” Next up for López, who recorded his 30th match win in 2016, will be US-American John Isner.