Dominic Thiem showed no signs of rust in his first match in almost two months Tuesday at the Madrid Masters, crushing Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-3.
Thiem, a 2-time Madrid finalist, displayed his trademark heavy forehand and backhand, and was in complete control over the American who went nearly 3.5 hours yesterday.
“Definitely I was uncertain how things will be going,” Thiem said. “The game worked out very well in the last days of practice, but I was always practicing on the outside courts which are faster, which is smaller, so I was just not sure how it’s gonna be in the match on the big center court.
“But there were some things which I think made it a little bit easier, the match, after such a long time, especially the conditions in Madrid, which are great for me. Then amazing memories on this court where I already played probably some of the best matches of my career. So I think that’s why things worked out quite well tonight.”
Thiem says he hopes his recent break will get him back to the right intensity level.
“For my game, I need 100% intensity and 100% energy,” Thiem added. “I’m not the guy who can serve through a match or who can play with a little bit intensity and is still winning. You know, I’m just not that type of guy. I need 100% in every aspect of my game.
“I was just not able to put that on court like in Doha, Dubai, or towards the end of the Australian Open, so that’s why it was better to take a break. Better to come back when it’s possible again to play with that 100% in every aspect of my game.
“That’s also the goal for the future, no, to really play only tournaments where I’m ready 100% to compete.”
Thiem will now meet Alex De Minaur on Thursday.
The battle of Italy went to the higher ranked Matteo Berrettini who bested Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4. Berrettini never faced a break point and the recent Belgrade champion has won his last six matches.
“I’m pretty happy for my physical shape, for my mental performance so far, and the way I came back after a big injury. I think I’m playing good. I’m really feeling confident,” Berrettini said.
“These conditions I think are good for my tennis,” he added. “It’s tough to build the momentum in these conditions and it was tougher for me because I got injured, but I’m trying really hard. The results so far are pretty good.”
Berrettini surging countryman Jannik Sinner advanced 6-4, 4-all when his opponent, Guido Pella, retired due to injury.
Andrey Rublev won a scratchy match of Tommy Paul 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4. Paul countryman Taylor Fritz also lost as did two other North Americans, Denis Shapovalov Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Shapovalov was bounced by Alexander Bublik 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 while Felix Auger-Aliassime’s up-and-down season continued with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Casper Ruud.
“I feel like I’m doing good things, again, but the consistency is not where I want it,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Definitely not. So I think I need to see what I can improve, but, you know, for example today was pretty straightforward. I missed more than he did, and he hit more winners than I did. You know, the numbers don’t lie.”
Former finalist Kei Nishikori kept Karen Khachanov at bay with a 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2 win over the big Russian. Khachanov falls to just 11-10 on the year having lost his last three matches.
Tomorrow, the much-anticipated cross-generational showdown takes place between Rafael Nadal and 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. The Spanish teen will have his dream come true taking on Nadal. He also celebrates his 18th birthday on Wednesday.
Daniil Medvedev makes his start in Madrid against another young Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and Stefanos Tsitsipas opens play against Benoit Paire.
Nishikori returns to face Alexander Zverev and Roberto Bautista Agut battles John Isner.
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