Thiem Turnaround! Domi Downs Nardi In Antwerp

  • Posted: Oct 17, 2023

Thiem Turnaround! Domi Downs Nardi In Antwerp

#NextGenATP Mpetshi Perricard claims first ATP Tour win

Dominic Thiem flipped the script emphatically on Luca Nardi Tuesday night in Antwerp to seal a hard-earned first-round win at the European Open.

The former World No. 3 Thiem at one point trailed by a set and a break but recovered for a 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 triumph at the Belgian indoor ATP 250. The Austrian clinched a crucial break of serve to level at 3-3 in the second set and that proved the catalyst for an increasingly commanding Thiem display as Nardi faded after a bright start in their maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

“It was a very tough match. It’s always interesting to play against a great player for the very first time,” said Thiem. “I have the feeling it’s pretty fast conditions. We both served well. I needed to adjust a little bit to adjust to the surface and I was a set and a break down, and then I was able to turn it around.

“I played a great tie-break, which got close at the end and then the third set was really good. I’m really happy.”

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With his two-hour, 28-minute victory, Thiem snapped an eight-match tour-level losing streak against Italian opponents. The Austrian was two points from defeat on two occasions in the second-set tie-break but did not lose his nerve and later dominated a deciding set in which he did not face a break point.

Thiem is now 17-20 for the year, a tally that includes a championship-match run in Kitzbühel. The 17-time tour-level titlist will take on fifth seed Yannick Hanfmann in the second round after the German beat home qualifier Alexander Blockx 6-4, 7-6(3).

Alexander Shevchenko prevailed in a tense clash with Benjamin Bonzi to make a winning start to his maiden Antwerp campaign. The World No. 84 claimed a 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-3 first-round triumph against France’s Bonzi. Shevchenko’s aggressive approach paid off in the latter stages of the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head clash as he powered 46 winners to Bonzi’s 31.

It was a 10th tour-level win for Shevchenko, who had not won a match at that level prior to April in Barcelona. The 22-year-old, who reached a career-high No. 83 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in August, will take on Juan Pablo Varillas next after the Peruvian beat Fabian Marozsan 7-6(7), 6-4.

Also on Tuesday, #NextGenATP Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard claimed his maiden ATP Tour victory by upsetting sixth seed Roberto Carballes Baena 0-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). The 20-year-old Mpetshi Perricard, who made his tour-level debut as a wild card at Roland Garros in May, recovered from a nightmare start to set a second-round appointment with home favourite David Goffin.

Maximilian Marterer notched an early upset on his Antwerp debut as the German downed seventh seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4. It was a second Top 100 win of the season for the 28-year-old Marterer, who will face countryman Dominik Koepfer or Nuno Borges next.

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