Millman Spoils Thiem's Return In Belgrade
John Millman prevented Dominic Thiem from making a winning return Tuesday, edging the Austrian 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the second round at the Serbia Open.
The former World No. 3 was competing in his first tour-level match since June following injury and he showed glimpses of what he is capable of during the two-hour, 35-minute clash against the Australian.
Thiem struck his backhand aggressively, but was unable to produce his best level, with Millman breaking in the 10th game of the third set to advance. The 28-year-old, who played at an ATP Challenger Tour event at the end of March, is a 17-time tour-level titlist, with 10 of his victories coming on clay.
“It is great to be back here,” Millman said in his on-court interview. “I was looking forward to coming back and play. All credit to Domi. I can’t claim it was one of my biggest wins because he is just coming back from injury and I know how hard that is, coming back from three surgeries myself.
“I know it has been tough for Domi but the game is better having him back. Especially on this surface. I have got to take this win because when he gets better and fitter, it is going to be tough.”
With his victory, Millman claimed his first win in four career meetings with Thiem. The World No. 80 will next meet Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.
#NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka overcame Henri Laaksonen 6-2, 7-5 to continue his strong start to the season. The 20-year-old, who reached the semi-finals in Rotterdam in February, is fifth in the ATP Race To Milan as he bids to make his debut at the 21-and-under event in November. Lehecka will next face second seed Andrey Rublev.
Serbian Laslo Djere recorded a win on home soil, defeating countryman wild card Hamad Medjedovic 6-4, 7-5, while Roman Safiullin downed Mikael Ymer 7-5, 6-0.
Filip Krajinovic, the only seeded singles player in action on Tuesday, advanced with a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over David Goffin on centre court to become the fourth Serb into the last 16. All four are in the top half of the draw and in action on Wednesday, including top seed Novak Djokovic, who will open his campaign against Djere.
Dusan Lajovic was unable to join his countrymen after a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) loss against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, which closed out the evening's play in Belgrade.