Thiem Falls In Lyon Opener To Norrie

Dominic Thiem (photo: Alexandre Hergott / Open Parc)

LYON/STARNBERG, May 20, 2021

Mission not accomplished for Dominic Thiem, who was hoping to get as many matches as possible during the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, his ultimate test ahead of Roland Garros. The top seed from Austria fell in his first match of the ATP 250 clay-court tournament to Briton Cameron Norrie 3-6, 2-6 on Thursday afternoon at the Parc de la Tête d’Or in Lyon, France.

World No. 49 Norrie dominated the action right from the beginning, didn’t face a break point and capitalized on three of his own four break-point chances to secure the biggest win of his career after 65 minutes.

“It was a huge disappointment. A match like this I expected to play after a longer break in Madrid,” Thiem commented on his performance during his virtual press conference. The 25-year-old only won nine per cent of his first-serve returns.

“It was a step backwards after two promising tournaments in Madrid and Rome. I felt uncomfortable playing longer rallies. I don’t really know why. I was well prepared and practiced well here but I couldn’t find any rhythm, any strokes. I was hoping to take the positive signs from Madrid and Rome to Lyon but it didn’t work out. Now I have to analyze and get ready for Roland-Garros … I need to continue to work hard. If I continue to play like this, I will also lose in the first round in Paris.”

Thiem confirmed that he will not ask for a wild card at next week’s Belgrade Open and will return home. The two-time Roland-Garros finalist is scheduled to arrive in Paris on Wednesday for his first practice sessions.

Norrie will try to continue his run in Lyon in the quarterfinals. “I’m so pleased to win today, it’s the biggest win of my career and my highest-ranked win,” Norrie said in an on-court interview. “It’s such a beautiful day in Lyon… I couldn’t be happier to get the win today and to get another match on the clay before Roland Garros.”

The London resident will next play French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech, who upset No. 6 seeded Italian Jannik Sinner 6-7(7), 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 34 minutes.

Tsitsipas advances

Earlier in the day, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past US-American Tommy Paul 6-1, 6-4. The World No. 5 from Greece sent down five aces and won 83 per cent of his first-service points to advance after one hour and 15 minutes.

“I had a great time today out on the court with the [crowd], we were able to create a nice atmosphere,” Tsitsipas said in an on-court interview. “I felt a lot of love and support in the difficult moments, so I want to give them the best from my tennis.” 

Up next for Tsitsipas will be Yoshihito Nishioka, who defeated No. 1 Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) to reach his first quarterfinal on the ATP Tour on surface other than hard court. The unseeded Japanese also rallied from a set down to beat No. 2 Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the opening round.

In other action, French veteran Richard Gasquet knocked out No. 3 seed Diego Schwartzman from Argentina 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 36 minutes to face eighth favourite Karen Khachanov of Russia.