VIENNA, October 23, 2018
Dominic Thiem opened his bid for a first title in Vienna on Tuesday. In front of packed stands inside the Stadthalle, the No. 1 seed of the Erste Bank Open defeated Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 7-5, 7-6(5).
Thiem, who had a 6-7 record before the match at his home tournament with his best result a quarterfinal in 2013, saved all three break points he faced, converting one of his own to secure victory in one hour and 45 minutes.
— Lukas Zahrer (@ZaraLuk) 23. Oktober 2018
“It was a tough match, as always, I was a little bit nervous today. Without the crowd‘s support I probably would have lost the set or the match. I need to improve my return big time,” Thiem said.
“There are only a few matches a year, in which you play at 100 per cent. A lot of players struggle on the return here.“
The World No. 7 from Austria will next take on Sam Querrey, who edged out Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The 31-year-old US-American finished the match after one hour and 22 minutes.
Dominic Thiem, John Isner and Kei Nishikori are trying to secure one of the three remaining spots for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in London. Isner rallied past British lucky loser Cameron Norrie 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-6(7) in two hours and 19 minutes. The No. 4 seed from the United States fired 16 aces to meet Gael Monfils of France or compatriot Steve Johnson next.
Nishikori also advanced to the second round with a 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 win over US-American Frances Tiafoe. The encounter lasted two hours and eight minutes. The No. 5 seed from Japan will next face reigning Kremlin Cup champion Karen Khachanov of Russia or Austrian wild card entry Dennis Novak.