Thiem Thrills Night-Session Crowds At Kitzbühel

Dominic Thiem (photo: Brigitte Urban)

KITZBÜHEL, July 31, 2019 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

Wednesday’s second round action at the Generali Open culminated in the all-Austrian night-session clash between World’s No. 4 Dominic Thiem and Sebastian Ofner.

On a sold-out Centre Court, packed with 5,600 spectators in Kitzbühel, top seed Thiem, who is making his ninth appearance in Kitzbühel, broke his fellow Austrian’s serve five times to prevail 6-3, 6-2 after one hour and 16 minutes.

„Playing in front of a full packed stadium against a countryman is not a normal situation. Sebastian had nothing to lose and was in good shape, winning the first round. So, I had to play at good level. We had many rallies, that made it possible for me to put some variety into my shots. I am very happy about the win getting another match in this great atmosphere,” Thiem said and will next take on Pablo Andujar of Spain.

Meanwhile on Court Küchenmeister, Andujar beat two-time Kitzbühel-champion Philipp Kohlschreiber. Outpointing his 35-year-old opponent from Germany 74-62, Valencia resident Andujar secured a 6-4, 6-4 win after one hour and 35 minutes. It was the third victory for Andujar in the pair’s fifth tour meeting.

Cuevas ends quarterfinal dream of Novak

Austrian wild card entry Dennis Novak failed to advance the quarterfinals of an ATP Tour event. The 25-year-old Vienna native fell on Centre Court to Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay, who is ranked ATP No. 53, after winning the first set in the tie-break. 33-year-old Cuevas broke his rival’s serve five times without losing a service game to get the victory by the score of 6-7(1), 6-0, 6-2 after one hour and 57 minutes. The No. 4 seed will next take on Casper Ruud from Norway.

After the encounter, Cuevas stated: „It is always difficult to compete against a local player. After losing the first set, I stayed really calm, focusing on my good serve and working on improvements for every strike. The rainy conditions made it more complicated to get the feeling for the balls and the court in my opening match“.

Young gun Ruud continues his great run in the competition. After defeating No. 8 seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the opening round, the 20-year-old Norwegian battled past German qualifier Matthias Bachinger on Court Küchenmeister in a match oft the missing chances. World’s No. 65 Ruud capitalized on 30 per cent of his break point opportunities, Bachinger converted only 22 per cent of his break point chances. Lasting one hour and 44 minutes, Oslo native Ruud sealed a 6-4, 7-6(3) win, to get closer to qualify for 2019 #NextGen ATP Finals in Milan.

Chardy stuns Lajovic

In the first match on Centre Court, French veteran Jeremy Chardy upset the tournament’s No. 2 Dusan Lajovic, who clinched his maiden title on the ATP Tour in Umag two weeks ago. The 32-year-old London resident, who is ranked at World No. 74, outpointed his 29-year-old rival from Serbia 82-79 to secure a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory after one hour and 42 minutes. Chardy is taking the lead their head-to-head records with his third win in their fifth meeting.

World’s No. 69 Albert Ramos-Vinolas emerged victorious from the all-Spanish encounter against 2018 #NextGenATP semi-finalist Jaume Munar. Left-handed Ramos-Vinolas, who entered the tournament by special exempt, won 86 per cent of his first-service points to seal a 6-2, 6-3 win after 74 minutes. It was the second win for 31-year-old Ramos-Vinolas in as many meetings between the two. The Barcelona native will oppose Jeremy Chardy in the next round.

Sonego survives another marathon match

Lorenzo Sonego, the No. 56 in ATP rankings, has been the marathon man of the tournament so far. After his epic three hours and 36 minutes-battle against Federico Delbonis from Argentina, the 24-year-old Italian fought past Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in another clash, which went the distance. Making five points less than his 26-year-old opponent, No. 7 seeded Sonego claimed a 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(1) victory after two hours and 50 minutes. The Turin native leveled their head-to-head series after their second tour-meeting.

The tournament’s No. 3 Fernando Verdasco from Spain started his title bid at his eighth appearance at the Generali Open. The 2005 runner-up faced Slovakian Jozef Kovalik on Centre Court. Outpointing his rival 78-68, 35-year-old Verdasco captured the win by the score of 6-4, 7-6 after one hour and 49 minutes. The Doha resident, who is currently ranked ATP No. 32, will compete versus Lorenzo Sonego in the stage of the last eight.

Coming up

Quarterfinals action will start on on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Organizers of the tournament announced, that Centre Court will be sold out for the rest of the tournament.

Photo Gallery (by Brigitte Urban)