Thiem gets tested in his Kitzbühel opener

Dominic Thiem celebrated his ninth consecutive match win (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

KITZBÜHEL, August 5, 2015

The top four seeds looked to reach the quarterfinals on Wednesday at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel.

Top-seed Dominic Thiem, started his title quest with a 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory over Andreas Haider-Maurer. Both Austrians had their only previous tour meeting two weeks ago in Umag when Haider-Maurer was forced to retire due to injury. In Kitzbühel, Thiem had to work hard, withstood eleven aces from his compatriot and rallied back from a set down as well as a 1-4 deficit in the third set to close the match after two hours and 17 minutes. Thiem captured the titles in Umag and Gstaad the last two weeks and extended his winning streak to nine matches.

“I’m happy to be in the quarters here. Unfortunately I had to beat my countryman to make it to the next round,” said Thiem, who finished as runner-up last year. “Andreas would have deserved to win this one. He played a great match. The atmosphere was very nice. The crowd was cheering for both of us.”

Dominic Thiem celebrated his ninth consecutive match win  (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

Dominic Thiem celebrated his ninth consecutive match win
(Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

Thiem will face Albert Montaῆes, who defeated Diego Schwartzman for the first time, winning 6-1, 6-3 in their second tour meeting. The 34-year-old Spaniard, who entered main draw as lucky loser replacing injured Simone Bolelli, won 70% of his first service points to reach his first ATP quarterfinals since Quito in February this year after 71 minutes.

The first two matches on Centre Court were pretty quick encounters. Sixth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber came with a 1-2 head to head deficit in the match against Santiago Giraldo, but dominated right from the beginning. The 31-year-old German, who lives in Kitzbühel, capitalized on six of his 15 break point chances, winning 6-0, 6-2 in only 58 minutes.

Fabio Fognini (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

Fabio Fognini (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

Third seed Fabio Fognini was even two minutes quicker than the German, beating Austrian wild card Dennis Novak 6-1, 6-2. The latter played his only third match on the ATP Word Tour and celebrated his first match win in the first round through a three sets victory over Aljaz Bedene. Against Fognini, however, Novak was without any chance, as the world number 27 from Italy controlled the match, winning 80% of his first service points to set a quarterfinals clash with Kohlschreiber.

“I tried my best but the backhand and the service was not the best today. I know that I still have a lot to do, but I also learnt that I am able to keep the pace after I had won my first round match here. There is no difference in terms of preparation. It is not important if it is a match on the ATP World Tour, Challenger or ITF Future Tour. Of course, it is nice to play here in front of almost fully packed stands. That’s something special,” Novak, who is currently ranked on 256th position, told after this match and has certain goals for the next two years. “I want to finish the year inside the top 200. Cracking the top 100 in 2016 would be great.”

Federico Delbonis defeated former Kitzbühel champion Robin Haase in their first tour meeting, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. The 24-year-old Argentine saved three break points and capitalized on six of his own to close the match after one hour and 54 minutes.

Delbonis will take on Paul-Henri Mathieu in the quarterfinals. The French qualifier knocked off fourth seed Martin Klizan, winning 6-3, 7-5. Mathieu won 68% of his first service points and withstood eight aces from the Slovakian to seal victory in one hour and 33 minutes.

Jürgen Melzer (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

Jürgen Melzer (Photo: GEPA pictures/ Hans Osterauer)

Nicolas Almagro dismissed Austrian wild card Jürgen Melzer, winning 7-6, 7-5. The 29-year-old Spaniard rallied back from a 1-5 deficit in the opening set, won 80% of his first service points to seal victory after one hour and 27 minutes.

“I had to fight hard throughout the match. I had a good start but then I lost the thread and he started to return better. Maybe it would have been better to be more patient, not to go for the longline winner so early,” Melzer analysed the match. “Of course this is a bitter defeat. Nonetheless, it was one of the better matches I played this year but there are certain things which are still missing to get back to my best,” the 34-year-old Austrian said and added that he is pretty sure to return to Kitzbühel next year.

Almagro will take on Dusan Lajovic next. 25-year-old Serbian benefited from the retirement of second seed Andreas Seppi due to back problems, leading 7-5, 3-0 after 54 minutes.