If you thought Dominic Thiem would be rusty in his first match in nearly two months, you thought wrong.
The Austrian star was in full flight on Tuesday evening when he defeated American qualifier Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-3 to reach the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open. The third seed is off to a good start at the Caja Magica, where he made the final in 2017 and 2018.
“I was uncertain how things will be going. The game worked out very well in the past days of practice, but I was always practising on the outside courts which are faster, which are smaller, so I was just not sure how it was going to be in the match,” Thiem said. “But there were some things which I think made [the match] a little bit easier after such a long time, especially the conditions in Madrid, which are great for me.
“Then [I have] amazing memories on this court, where I already played probably some of the best matches of my career. I think that’s why things worked out quite well tonight.”
Thiem had not competed since 16 March, when he lost against Lloyd Harris in his opening match in Dubai. But the 27-year-old looked refreshed in the Spanish capital, playing an aggressive, but tidy match to triumph inside Stadium Manolo Santana after 58 minutes.
“For my game, I need 100 per cent intensity and 100 per cent energy. I’m not the guy who can serve through a match or who can play with a little bit of intensity and still win. I’m just not that type of guy,” Thiem said. “I need 100 per cent in every aspect of my game.
I was just not able to put that on court in Doha, Dubai, or towards the end of the Australian Open, so that’s why it was better to take a break.
“[It was] better to come back when it’s possible again to play with that 100 per cent in every aspect of my game.”
Giron is a physical baseliner who had already played two matches lasting more than three hours in Madrid this year, defeating Thiago Monteiro in the first round of qualifying and Pablo Andujar in the first round of the main draw on Monday. But the American couldn’t find the energy to match Thiem’s greater physicality.
The two-time Roland Garros finalist and reigning US Open champion hit bigger than Giron and with more spin, pinning the qualifier deep in the court. Thiem broke the World No. 91’s serve four times and did not face a break point.[WATCH LIVE 2]
In the next round, Thiem will face Australian Alex de Minaur, who led Lloyd Harris 6-2, 3-0 when the South African retired.
De Minaur has only won one of 10 sets he has played against Thiem, who leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-0. Two of those matches came at the US Open, in 2017 and 2020, respectively.