Thiem Starts Tel Aviv Campaign With Win

Dominic Thiem (photo: Tel Aviv Watergen Open)

TEL AVIV/STARNBERG, September 26, 2022

The ATP Tour is back in Israel this week for the $1,019,855 Tel Aviv Watergen Open held at the Tel Aviv International Convention Center. Austrian wild card entry Dominic Thiem started his campaign on Monday with a hard-fought 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4 first-round win over Laslo Djere of Serbia.

The World No. 173 withstood 17 aces and broke his rival’s serve three times to secure victory in two hours and 41 minutes.

“I didn’t get off to a great start. I got the break in the second set and then I was a bit lucky I could turn the match around,” Thiem said in his on-court interview. “The third set was a real grind… I am very grateful to everyone who came tonight. It is really nice to play in Israel.”

Up next for Thiem, who finished runner-up to Ugo Humbert at the Open Blot ATP Challenger Tour event earlier this month, will be second-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic.

“It’s a pleasure to be here,” said Cilic on Monday. “Visiting Israel was always on my list, also Jerusalem, but I will leave it for the future with family. It’s fantastic to be here. A bit of an unusual experience to see all the restaurants closed yesterday night, but still great to be here, and I’m looking forward to a good week.”

In other action, Russian Roman Safiullin defeated Hugo Grenier of France 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and four minutes to earn his first tour-level win since he defeated Mikael Ymer in Belgrade in April.

Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the ATP 250 hard-court event. The 35-year-old Serbian is set to compete in his first individual event since his Wimbledon triumph in July.

After a first-round bye, Djokovic will face the winner of the encounter between Brazilian Thiago Monteiro and Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar. The World No. 7 will also play doubles alongside home favourite Jonathan Erlich.