He may not be seeded and may have dropped down the rankings to 199 following a long-term wrist injury, but Dominic Thiem’s progress at the Generali Open, is one of the major attractions at this year’s Kitzbuhel event.
Thiem, the 2020 U.S. Open champion and former world No.3, continued to show improvement following his quarter-final appearance in Bastad a fortnight ago and the semis last week in Gstaad, by taking out Lucky Loser Alexander Sevchenko 6-4 6-2 to set up a meeting with his compatriot Sebastian Ofner, a qualifier who successfully battled past the French veteran and 10th seed Richard Gasquet 1-6 7-5 7-5.
The 28-year-old Austrian, a former Kitzbuhel champion (2019) who returned to the Tour last March following wrist surgery, has struggled with a succession of first round exits but in the last few weeks it seems that the form that took him to the heights of the game, is slowly returning.
Thiem admitted to being nervous but delighted that his form has finally turned into a positive upward curve.
Also through is the seventh-seeded Pedro Martinez of Spain who advanced by beating wild-card entry Nicolas Jarry of Chile 7-6(4) 6-3.and his fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar who upset the ninth-seeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 3-6 7-6(4).
A retirement by qualifier Gerald Melzer of Austria allowing Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann to advance into the second round while leading 6-4 1-1