Thiem Hopes For Turnaround On Home Soil In Kitzbühel

Dominic Thiem (photo: Brigitte Urban)

KITZBÜHEL, July 31, 2023 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

While the Generali Open main draw was kicking off, the top-two Austrian players Sebastian Ofner and Dominic Thiem met the media at the Champions Club in Kitzbühel on Monday.

World No. 61 Ofner was asked about the situation being fourth-seeded with a bye in the opening round in Kitzbühel: “It was a complete new situation for me last week in Umag being the No. 3 seed. There are no easy matches at this level and my only opponent there, Alexei Popyrin, won the tournament afterwards, so the ranking is not the important thing. I will enter the court, trying my best and we will see how it works out.”

The Graz native, who started the season ranked 193th, has already played 68 matches this season. About his freshness, he said: “I do not feel tired, because my good results this year are still pushing me. I have worked all my life to reach the tour-level, and playing the biggest tournaments is a big motivation for me.”

In the round of last 16, Ofner will meet Alex Molcan from Slovakia, who defeated French young gun Luca van Assche 6-4, 6-3 earlier in the day. Ofner said of his upcoming opponent: “He is a great player and is established on ATP-level for a while. I will not be an easy match, but I’m in a good run of form and feel pretty good here in Kitzbühel.

Thiem happy to be back at a place of success 

“There are such a lot of milestones of my career, that I experienced here in Kitzbühel,” said World No. 116 Thiem, who will open his home campaign against Facundo Bagnis of Argentina. “Earning ATP points, winning a main draw match and clinching the first ATP title on home soil, all here for the first time, were very special moments for me. And it always a great feeling on Austrian soil in front of my home crowd.”

Asked about the big expectations from the Austrian crowd, the US Open champion from 2020 Thiem responded: “It is not a new feeling for me to handle such expectations from outside and from myself. My ranking development is far away from what I expect from myself, but the situation is like this. But I still feel, that I can do the turnaround in every upcoming tournament, so I hope it will be here.”

Despite his close defeat in Wimbledon against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the former World No. 3 gains some motivation from this match: “The match against Tsitsipas showed me that I am still absolutely competitive against higher ranked players. For sure, I hoped for better results in Gstaad and Umag, but at this level you have to play your best or you will not be successful in the tournament. But I am still hungry to get back on my top level.”

Andreozzi shocks last year’s finalist Misolic

Austrian Filip Misolic, who finished runner-up to Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain at the Generali Open last year, fell in the opening round to Argentinian qualifier Guido Andreozzi. After losing the first set, Andreozzi turned the match by winning 84 per cent of his first-service points to prevail 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 after about two hours. The 31-year-old will challenge his top-seeded countryman Tomas Martin Echeverry in the second round.


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Monday’s results:

Guido Andreozzi (ARG) – Filip Misolic (AUT) 5-7, 6-4, 6-2

Alex Molcan (SVK) – Luca van Assche (FRA) 6-3, 6-3

Albert Ramos Vinolas (ESP) – Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) 6-1, 7-5

Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) – Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-2, 6-2