Dominic Thiem’s improving form following his wrist injury, was clearly evident as he battled past countryman Sebastian Ofner 6-2 3-6 6-3 to reach the quarter finals of the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
The first win, something clicked. I've mentally progressed a lot DominicThiem
Until the last few weeks, the former world No.3’s comeback has stalled at the first hurdle of the seven events he has played before he finally broke his run of defeats at Salzburg earlier this month.
Thiem picked up his original wrist injury at the Mallorca Open in June 2021 and his subsequent return was marred by another hand injury followed by a bout of Covid.
Now in KItzbuhel, he believes: “I’m almost back at the level I had before my injury during training,”
“There are still a few things left in competition. Still week to week I’ve improved, and I’m feeling good.
“The first win, something clicked. I’ve mentally progressed a lot.”
Kitzbuhel, a 250 level ATP tournament is the fourth event he has played this month in which he has clocked up nine wins having reached the quarter finals at Bastad, the semis at Gstaad and now the last eight at the Austrian ski resort where he has the chance to go deeper when he takes on Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann for a place in the semis.
Following his victory over Ofner, the world No. 235, Thiem said: “It was an unbelievable atmosphere once again.
“Great afternoon to play tennis again and really happy to get the win. Obviously it was very different conditions to yesterday. It’s not easy to make the change and as well against Ofner, we know each other very well, practising together a lot of times.
“It was a great, great fight at the end and happy to be through.”
And fight the former US Open champion did recovering from two breaks in the decider and saving break points on his own serve when serving for the match which he closed out after just under two hours of play.
“I don’t think there was too much difference in shot-making,” Thiem added reflecting on the victory.
“I think there were some small details in the score. In the third set he was up a break twice and I was able to make the rebreak straight away twice again.
“If he holds his serve and he goes away in the third set, probably it’s going to be a different outcome. But these were the key moments when twice I was able to straight [away] rebreak.”
Third seed Roberto Bautista Agut beat Austrian wild card Jurij Rodionov 6-1 6-4 to make the quarter-finals, as did his compatriot the top seeded Albert Bautista Agut with a 6-3 6-4 win over Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas.
The other quarter finalists are Federico Coria of Argentina, the Czech Jiri Lechecka, Austrian wild card Filip Misolic and the Serb Dusan Lajovic.