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Hugo Dellien in action against Dominic Thiem in the first round at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Dellien Downs Thiem At Roland Garros

Bolivian to face Khachanov or Borges in second round

Hugo Dellien notched the third Grand Slam match win of his career Sunday at Roland Garros as the World No. 87 secured a comfortable 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 first-round victory over two-time finalist Dominic Thiem in Paris.

Dellien broke Thiem four times in an impressive two-hour, one-minute victory on Court Simonne Mathieu, capitalising on a below-par performance from the former World No. 3 to advance to the second round at the clay-court Grand Slam for the second time.

Although Thiem’s rustiness was evident in just his sixth match of 2022 since returning from a right wrist injury suffered last June, Dellien was inspired in the pair’s first tour-level meeting. The Bolivian’s effortless movement around the court and high-class ballstriking made life difficult for Thiem from the opening game as Dellien surged to a fifth tour-level victory of the year.

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Thiem showed signs of his best with some trademark cleanly struck backhand winners, but the Austrian struggled for consistency throughout. Dellien let slip a break point in Thiem’s opening service game of the match as the Austrian held for 1-1, but the Bolivian remained aggressive, keeping the Thiem serve under constant pressure and cleverly using his drop shot to pull the 2020 US Open champion around the court.

The win continues a solid 2022 for Dellien on the clay. The Bolivian won an ATP Challenger Tour event in Santiago on the surface in March and he also reached the second round after qualifying at the ATP Tour events in Barcelona and Estoril in April. His second-round opponent in Paris will be Portuguese qualifier Nuno Borges or 21st seed Karen Khachanov.

The 28-year-old Thiem, who played in two straight finals, four straight semi-finals and five straight quarter-finals at Roland Garros from 2016 through 2020, is left still seeking a maiden win in 2022 since returning from a right wrist injury suffered last June.

Grigor Dimitrov enjoyed a rapid start to his campaign in Paris as the 18th seed dispatched Marcos Giron with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

The pair met at the same stage in Paris a year ago, when Dimitrov led 0/40 on the American’s serve at 6-2 6-4 5-1, only for the Bulgarian to lose the next nine games before retiring with a back problem. There were no such issues for the World No. 20 this time around, as he broke Giron seven times on his way to a dominant 94-minute win.

Dimitrov has enjoyed a productive European clay season, winning eight matches on the surface across four tournaments including a run to the semi-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. A fourth-round appearance in 2020 is the Bulgarian’s best effort at Roland Garros, with the eight-time tour-level titlist holding a 13-11 match win record in Paris following Sunday’s win.

Dimitrov’s second-round assignment will be a maiden tour-level meeting with former World No. 12 Borna Coric, after the Croatian defeated Carlos Taberner, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. Coric, playing his first Grand Slam match since the 2021 Australian Open due to a prolonged injury layoff, responded strongly after dropping the opening set to World No. 88 Taberner. He broke the Spaniard twice in each of the second, third and fourth sets to complete a three-hour, 10-minute victory.

Other early winners in Paris on Sunday included Jaume Munar, who defeated Daniel Altmaier 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, and Aljaz Bedene, who overcame wild card Christopher O’Connell 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1.

Uruguay’s Pablo Cueves rolled back the years with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over American Jenson Brooksby. The 36-year-old is making his 13th appearance at Roland Garros. The six-time tour-level titlist plays Bedene in the second round.

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