Dominic Thiem survives a scare to secure opening-round win in Rome

On the back of the comeback win, Thiem will now take on local favourite Lorenzo Sonego in the next round.

File photo - Dominic Thiem in action in Rome; Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

Dominic Thiem was within two points of suffering his third successive opening-round defeat at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. He held his nerve and saw out the second-set tie-breaker to eventually register an impressive win in Rome. The fourth-seeded Austrian defeated Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 in two hours and 33 minutes. Thiem had earlier lost his opening matches to Fabio Fognini and Fernando Verdasco in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

“It was such a close match, especially in the second set,” said Thiem. “I knew he’d be a super-tough opponent, particularly coming from different conditions in Madrid. I was fighting all the match and stayed in there. At the end, I got the reward for fighting. I had difficulties with my timing and my serve. I have to hurt my opponent more with my shots. I still won a great match and I will try to improve for tomorrow.”

Thrilling tie-breaker

After taking a mini-break from the sport, he returned to the ATP Tour last week to reach the Mutua Madrid Open semifinals. At 4/5 in the second-set tie-break, Thiem, who was a set and 1-3 down against Fucsovics at one point, produced a beautiful backhand drop shot, and when Fucsovics returned it, he followed it up with a backhand winner. If he’d lost the point, Fucsovics would have had two swings at winning the set and the match.

“In that exact moment, I was just focused to win the next point,” said Thiem about the 4/5 point in the tie-break. “I was down all the time. I lost then first set and then [in the] second [set] I was a break down. [In the] tie-break, I was 4/5 down. So until that point, 5/5, I was down all the match.”

“So I told myself, ‘Well, this is the chance now to go up for the first time in the whole match. It’s also, if I win the point, it’s a chance to win the set’. That’s what went through my mind. Luckily I took it.”

The third set was a formality as he wrapped it up with little difficulty to win the match. Thiem will next play Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who beat compatriot and wild card Gianluca Mager 6-4, 6-4 in a straight forward match.

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