Thiem Overcomes “Acapulco Heat” And Simon At Open Blot Rennes

Dominic Thiem and Gilles Simon (photo: Un oeil Averty)

RENNES/STARNBERG, September 14, 2022

Dominic Thiem is back on the ATP Challenger Tour competing in the €67,960 Open Blot Rennes. In Tuesday’s first-round battle of former Top-10 players, the 29-year-old wild card entry from Austria rallied past French veteran Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In front of packed stands inside Le Liberté, Thiem overcame a slow start, broke his rival’s serve four times and won 55 per cent of the total points played to prevail after two hours and 29 minutes.

The conditions were very difficult, it was very hot, it felt like we were in Acapulco,” said Thiem afterwards. “It was very humid because of the rain before the match. It’s always very complicated to play against Gilles, he is very experienced. All 12 matches I played against him were tough and still it is. I’m happy to have won.

“Matches like this are very good for me. There are long games with long rallies. It’s a special atmosphere here for a Challenger. It’s Gilles’ last time here, in front of this audience, it was quite special, and I hope it will be similar for my second round match.”

Thiem will next take on No. 5 seed Ryan Peniston of Great Britain, who defeated home favourite Antoine Escoffier 6-3, 7-6(5) in one hour and 55 minutes.

Gaston beats Mertens

Later in the evening, the tournament’s top seed Hugo Gaston opened his title bid with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Belgian qualifier Yannick Mertens. The World No. 85 struck seven aces and won 72 per cent of his first-service points to succeed after one hour and 29 minutes.

Up next for Gaston will be 16-year-old local wild card entry Gabriel Debru, who knocked out Mats Rosenkranz from Germany in three sets in his first-round match on Monday.