Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem sent 25th seed Alexander Bublik packing in an early first round match at the 2023 edition of the Grand Slam.
Thiem played perhaps his best match of the year to power through a convincing 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Despite the unexpected antics of his opponent’s underhand serves, odd placement on the court, and inconsistent usage of drop shots, Thiem never allowed his concentration to falter.
Injury robbed Thiem of what might have been his prime but he has been steadily improving throughout the 2023 season.
“It took time to get my confidence back in my wrist, now I am back on track. I feel the game is back in place and a straight set victory today I couldn’t be happier,” Thiem said in his on-court post-match interview.
This was Thiem’s biggest triumph of the year and his first victory in a Grand Slam since the Australian Open in 2021.
In the 1 hour and 52 minute encounter, Bublik only held one lead, 1-0, and it came in the middle set. The Kazakh struggled with nearly every attempt to get his serve in.
Bublik blasted 17 double faults, including four in the third set’s opening game.
When the dust settled on the first round clash, Bublik had racked up an incredible 44 unforced errors.
“Since the first time I came here there has always been special energy in this city. I hope I can make another good run,” said Thiem.
In another significant early result, Iga Swiatek ran through Rebecca Peterson 6-0, 6-1.
Swiatek didn’t really need to kick into high gear to get beyond the Swede
“I really wanted to play solid and start the tournament with everything I was focusing on in practice for the whole week here,” stated Swiatek.
“I’m happy that I could play such a great game, and with all the pressure and expectations, that I can just have fun on court.
“I just keep trying to remind myself that I want to develop as a player and that’s the most important thing for me.
“All the numbers and stuff they don’t really matter. I think that’s what the best of our sport do. So, I’m trying to follow that and play my game no matter what.”
Swiatek’s next opponent will be Daria Saville of Australia. After missing nine months due to knee surgery last autumn, the current world No 179 is making her way back up the rankings.
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