How an unseeded Hugo Dellien ousted a two-time finalist in round one of Roland Garros

Dellien broke his opponent four times in a two-hour, one-minute triumph on Court Simonne Mathieu, capitalising on the former World No. 3's below-par effort.

Hugo Dellien at the 2022 French Open. (Image: Twitter)

Hugo Dellien won his third Grand Slam match of his career on Sunday at Roland Garros, defeating two-time finalist Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round. Dellien broke Thiem four times in a two-hour, one-minute triumph on Court Simonne Mathieu, capitalising on the former World No. 3’s below-par effort to reach the second round of the clay-court Grand Slam for the second time. Dellien was inspired in the pair’s first tour-level clash, despite Thiem’s rustiness in only his sixth match of 2022 since returning from a right wrist injury suffered last June. Thiem’s life was made harder by the Bolivian’s easy movement around the court and high-class ballstriking.

With several characteristic cleanly executed backhand winners, Thiem showed hints of his best, but the Austrian struggled for consistency throughout. Dellien let a break point slip away in Thiem’s first service game of the match, but the Bolivian stayed aggressive, putting consistent pressure on Thiem’s serve and brilliantly utilising his drop shot to tug the 2020 US Open winner around the court.

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In March, the Bolivian won an ATP Challenger Tour tournament in Santiago, and in April, he qualified for the second round of the ATP Tour events in Barcelona and Estoril. Nuno Borges, a Portuguese qualifier, or Karen Khachanov, the 21st seed, will be his second-round opponent in Paris. Thiem, who reached two consecutive finals, four consecutive semi-finals, and five consecutive quarter-finals at Roland Garros from 2016 to 2020, is still looking for his first win after recovering from a right wrist injury last June.

Dimitrov advances

Grigor Dimitrov made a strong start to his season in Paris, defeating Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. Dimitrov led 0/40 on the American’s serve at 6-2, 6-4, 5-1 when the two met in Paris a year ago, but the Bulgarian lost the next nine games before quitting with a back ailment. The World No. 20 had no such problems this time, as he broke Giron seven times en route to a commanding 94-minute victory.

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Dimitrov’s second-round opponent will be former World No. 12 Borna Coric, who overcame Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in his first tour-level match. After dropping the first set to World No. 88 Taberner, Coric, who hasn’t played a Grand Slam match since the 2021 Australian Open due to an extended injury layoff, came back strong. He broke the Spaniard twice in the second, third, and fourth sets to win the match in three hours and ten minutes. Jaume Munar defeated Daniel Altmaier 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday, and Aljaz Bedene defeated wild card Christopher O’Connell 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1.

Sportslumo Desk

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