SALZBURG, July 5, 2022
Dominic Thiem is back on the tour, winning his first match since the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome in May 2021 at the Salzburg Open. In front of a sold-out crowd with about 1,000 spectators on Centre Court of the Salzburg Tennis Club, the wild card entry from Austria battled past his compatriot and qualifier Filip Misolic 6-4, 7-5 on Tuesday.
Thiem had a solid start into his first-round match of the €134,920 ATP Challenger Tour clay-court tournament, was a set and break up but Misolic fought back and earned a 4-2 lead in the second set. The 28-year-old US Open champion of 2020, however, showed his best tennis towards the end of the encounter and secured victory in two hours and eight minutes.
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The former World No. 3, who dropped to 346th position in the ATP Rankings, was forced to retire during his second-round match at the Mallorca Championships in June last year, suffering pain in his right wrist that ended up being diagnosed as a muscle tear. 285 days later Thiem returned to the tour but lost in the opening round of the Andalucia Open ATP Chalellenger Tour event in Marbella, Spain to Pedro Cachin. Since then, the 17-time titlist hasn’t won a competitive match and decided to take another break from the circuit after Roland-Garros to intensify his practice sessions.
On Thursday, Thiem will next take on No. 7 seed Facundo Bagnis of Argentina, who benefited from the retirement of his compatriot and qualifier Facundo Diaz Acosta after winning the first set 6-2.
Rinderknech, Lajovic untroubled
In other action, the top two seeds of the Salzburg Open booked their spots in the second round. No. 1 seed Arthur Rinderknech eased past Ukrainian qualifier Vitaliy Sachko 6-1, 6-3. The World No. 62 from France struck seven aces, saved all three break points he faced and capitalized on four of his own nine break-point chances to advance in one hour and 16 minutes.
Up next for Rinderknech will be local wild card entry Lukas Neumayer, who downed French veteran Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes.
In the bottom half of the draw, second-seeded Serbian Dusan Lajovic beat Czech young gun Dalibor Svrcina 7-5, 6-1. The 32-year-old Belgrade native won 56 per cent of the total points played to prevail after one hour and 24 minutes. Lajovic will next face Dennis Novak from Austria, who edged past Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhov 6-2, 7-5. The encounter lasted one hour and 20 minutes.