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Pablo Andujar rallies from two sets down on Sunday to upset Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros.

Andujar Upsets Thiem In Five Sets At Roland Garros

Spaniard records sixth Top 10 win

Pablo Andujar recovered from two-sets-to-love down for the first time in his career on Sunday at Roland Garros for his first victory over a Top 5 star in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

The World No. 68 capitalised on lapses in concentration to upset 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem, the fourth seed from Austria, in a 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 first-round victory over four hours and 28 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier. It was also his 150th match win.

"It is very special to win here at Roland Garros," said Andujar. "[It was] such an emotional win for me, being two-sets-to-love down against an amazing player."

Andujar, who beat Roger Federer at the Gonet Geneva Open two weeks ago, is now 6-23 lifetime against Top 10 opponents and will next prepare to meet Moldovan Radu Albot or Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

When asked whether the Federer win played a part in today's victory, Andujar admitted, "It gave me more confidence in myself, trying to believe in myself. I think that victory make me still believe, even if I was two-sets-to-love down. So I tried to keep focused. I knew I could win that third set, and everything was going to change."

World No. 4 Thiem, who finished as runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2018 and 2019 finals, is now 9-8 on the season. It is his first opening-round loss at Roland Garros in eight appearances.

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Thiem started strongly, winning the first two games in a high-quality first set, which ended after 56 minutes when the Austrian hit his 17th winner, a forehand down the line.

After four breaks of serve in the second set, the World No. 4 seized the momentum with a 6-5 lead after Andujar hit a forehand into the net. Thiem first came within two points of the set when he served for it at 5-4, but Andujar clawed his way back.

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Andujar, 35, won three games in a row to clinch the third set as Thiem’s confidence started to desert him and hopes of the Spaniard’s first comeback from two sets down developed. Andujar opened up a 4-1 advantage in the fourth set, which saw Thiem initially struggle with his serve and forehand.

Andujar broke serve at the start of the decider after a Thiem backhand error, but a trick shot from the Austrian in the next game – a shot played behind his back – triggered a brief response to his best tennis. Andujar won 10 of 11 points from 1-2, 30/40 to a 4-2 lead and completed his eighth win of 2021 with a confident hold to 15.

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It is the second time that Thiem has lost from two sets up, following on from his 2017 US Open fourth-round exit to Juan Martin del Potro. 

Elsewhere, Italian No. 27 seed Fabio Fognini struck 31 winners in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 victory over French wild card Gregoire Barrere in two hours and eight minutes. Fognini now plays Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, who beat Gilles Simon of France 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(5) over three hours and 13 minutes.

Another seeded player in that section, Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz, was unable to advance. Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp rallied past the 19th seed 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 after three hours and 41 minutes.

The 25-year-old made his Grand Slam main draw debut at this year's Australian Open, where he lost against Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets. But this time, he managed to claw back and hit 55 winners in his victory against the Polish star. Van de Zandschulp will play Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round after the Spaniard eliminated Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

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