AUS Open 2021: Dominic Thiem was pressed laborious by Kazakh veteran Mikhail Kukushkin.© AFP
US Open champion Dominic Thiem was given an unexpectedly powerful take a look at as he kicked off his bid for a maiden Australian Open title Monday, pressed laborious by Kazakh veteran Mikhail Kukushkin earlier than racing to the end line. The third-seeded Austrian, a narrow loser to Novak Djokovic in last year’s Melbourne final, got here by his match on Rod Laver Area 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-3, however was made to work for it.
“It is attention-grabbing as a result of it is the primary time I’ve met him and there is not too many I did not meet on tour,” mentioned Thiem of his opponent.
“He is very skilled and the primary set was super-challenging. However, typically, I am very blissful to be again and have success within the first spherical.”
Kukushkin, 33, had misplaced his opening-round match at Melbourne on 11 of his earlier 12 appearances.
Thiem will subsequent play both German Dominik Keopfer or Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios looming as a possible third-round opponent.
Now 27, the baseliner lastly cracked the massive time when he produced a historic comeback to beat Alexander Zverev in the US Open final last year.
He’s in Melbourne with out his coach Nicolas Massu, who examined constructive for the coronavirus, and is as an alternative working beneath his father, Wolfgang.
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