VIENNA, October 19, 2015
For the 40th consecutive year, the Erste Bank Open returns to the Austrian capital with the main draw kicking off on Monday. Three locals featured the first round matches on Day 1, beginning with 19-year-old qualifier Lucas Miedler, who took on Ernests Gulbis in his very first encounter on the ATP World Tour. The Austrian took the match the distance but it was the more experienced Latvian having the better ending to seal a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory in one hour and 48 minutes.
The following match also pitted an Austrian against an accomplished veteran as wild card Dennis Novak faced former world number eight Radek Stepanek. The 36-year-old Czech withstood 10 aces and won 77% of his first service points to prevail in one hour and 20 minutes.
Jiri Vesely defeated with Gerald Melzer another Austrian wild card. The world number 40 from the Czech Republic fired seven aces and saved the only break point he faced to prevail in one hour and 12 minutes.
Seventh seed Ivo Karlovic edged Andreas Seppi 7-6, 6-3, smashing 17 aces in one hour and 22 minutes and Lukas Rosol overcame Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita, winning 6-4, 7-6 in 88 minutes.
Austria’s number one Dominic Thiem will step into action on Tuesday facing Jerzy Janowicz. “This is really a tough draw but there is no easy Opponent in the tournament. I have played against good Servers a couple of times in recent times. So I know what I have to expect,” told the 22-year-old, who lost to Janowicz at an ATP Challenger in Salzburg four years ago.
“A lot of things have happened in the meantime but he made it to the semi-finals in Wimbledon and reached the final at the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris. He was the number 14 in the world. He serves big but also moves very well on the court,” Thiem charcterises the Polish and is looking forward to his opening match in Vienna.
“I played well in Shanghai and now it is important to get used to the surface and the balls here. I feel physically better compared to last year, when I returned from Asia. I am really confident and I also count on the home advantage.”
Austria’s Head of State Heinz Fischer welcomed the tournament’s top-three-seeds David Ferrer, Kevin Anderson and John Isner as well as doubles specialists Julian Knowle and Daniel Nestor. Justin Gimelstob (ATP Board of Directors), Thomas Muster and tournament director Herwig Straka also attended the event. The guests presented an oversized ticket to the final on Sunday. However, if the Federal President accepts the invitation, will be uncertain.
“It is very special to meet the Head of a State. It was very interesting to get some information about the history. This is an unique experience for all of us,” Anderson told and Isner added: “It is an honour to be here. The President is a really nice guy.”