Bastad (Sweden), July 12 (IANS) Former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem battled to a 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) first-round victory against Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland at the Nordea Open here on Tuesday.
It was the Austri’n’s first tour-level win for 14 months, nine of which the 2020 U.S. Open champion spent out of action due to a wrist injury.
“It’s a long time. My last victory was in Rome in 2021, it feels like a different world somehow. Many, many things happened. It was tough, but it was also a very good experience, I think, for life in general. I’m so happy that I got this first victory here today,” said Thiem in his on-court interview.
Thiem was under pressure early against the World No. 43 Ruusuvuori in the pair’s first ATP head-to-head meeting. The Finn raced to an unassailable 5-1 lead in the opening set, but Thiem raised his level to roar back into contention by reeling off five games in a row in the second set to level proceedings.
Despite some nervous moments in the deciding-set tie-break, Thiem stayed solid to clinch just his second win at any level in 2022 having saved eight from 12 break points against the clean-hitting Finn.
“It was a very difficult match. I didn’t have a very good start and then I fought really well, but I had a really tough period with many losses and not many wins, so it was really difficult for me to close out the match. Even though I played pretty good in the second and third sets. I have to control the nerves a little bit better, especially when it gets to the end,” he said.
Thiem’s next opponent on his debut appearance in Bastad will be fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut.