Tournament favorites Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem were victorious in their Vienna openers on Tuesday.
Djokovic fought through an opening set breaker to deny countryman Filip Krajinovic 7-6(6), 6-3.
“I was lucky in the first set,” Djokovic said. “We are good friends, we train a lot and it is never easy to play someone that you are very close to.
“He is a very nice guy and I have known him since he was very young. I followed him, I tried to be there as a friend, as a mentor. We go back a long way.”
After breaking Djokovic twice in the set, Krajinovic held a set point at 6-5 in the breaker.
“I think he was the better player,” Djokovic said of the first set. “He was serving for the first set and I was lucky. He missed a smash at 6-6 in the tie-break… A few points here and there can change the momentum of the match. In the second set, I stepped it up, I played better and I am just pleased with the way I finished the match.”
Djokovic, who is making his first Vienna appearance since winning the 2007 title, will meet Borna Coric in the second round tomorrow. Coric beat Taylor Fritz on Monday.
Austrian favorite Thiem kept pace with his possible final foe. The US Open champion defeated lucky loser Vitaliy Sachko 6-4, 7-5. Sachko replaced Kei Nishikori who withdrew with an injury.
“The match was not easy at all. I heard pretty late last night that I was not going to play Kei and that I was going to play Vitaliy,” said Thiem. “Of course, the past days I was practising towards Kei, preparing for Kei. I know him, we already had five matches. Suddenly, playing against an opponent who already had two good matches in qualifying, who maybe I only saw for two minutes on TV.”
Thiem moves on to a Thursday meeting with Chilean Cristian Garin. Garin knocked out Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.
“The match was unreal. I played at a very high level, so I am very happy to be in the next round,” said Garin on court.
Garin and Thiem have never met. “Dominic is one of the great players that I look a lot,” said Garin. “For me, it is a great match.”
Grigor Dimitrov collected a nice win beat Karen Khachanov 7-6(6), 6-3. Hubert Hurkacz and Dan Evans were also winners on the second day of the tournament.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medevedev open play on Wednesday. In an intriguing NextGen battle, Casper Rudd collides with Jannik Sinner.
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