2020 finalist Dominic Thiem’s Australian Open ended in the first round on Tuesday, with the former world number three meeting fifth seed Andrey Rublev in a setback on his return from injury. While Russia’s Rublev had a clear advantage in terms of current rankings, Thiem had a much greater Grand Slam pedigree as the 2020 US Open champion. He is also a two-time finalist at Roland Garros. But the 98th-ranked Austrian was outclassed in 36 Celsius (96.8 Fahrenheit) heat as he continued his comeback from a wrist injury that kept him sidelined for nine months in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Rublev notched a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win at John Cain Arena, his first of the year after two losses in warm-up events, with Australian Max Purcell or Finn Emil Ruusuvuori his next opponent.
“First of all, I am happy that I was able to go through in two sets. It was very hot today so I’m happy that I can save some energy for future matches,” said Rublev, who reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne in 2021 and won four titles last year.
“When you play Dominic, it’s never easy.
We are very good friends and I know that times are not easy for him, so I just want to wish him all the best to get back to where he belongs as quickly as possible.”
Thiem has shown encouraging signs in his return to tour, rising from outside the top 350 to break the top 100 this year after last year’s semi-finals in Gstaad, Gijon and Antwerp.
It was the seventh meeting between the two, but the first at a Grand Slam, with Rublev now winning 5-2.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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