Dominic Thiem produced a second straight show of comeback form on Thursday, defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5), 3-6 6-4 at the ATP Bastad event for his first quarter-final since May of last year.
The 339th-ranked Austrian who went through more than a year of injury comeback stress compounded by a spring case of COVID, has hit his rhythm on the summer clay.
The 2020 US Open champion who once touched third in the world, took two and three-quarter hours to advance in Sweden against his fourth-seeded Spanish opponent.
“It is great to play here, it’s an amazing atmosphere,: the 28-year-old Austrian said.
“I’m so happy that I won and can have at least another match tomorrow. It was really good.”
Thiem added; “The (first-round) win against Emil (Ruusuvuori) gave me confidence that I can compete against the best players in the world.
‘Roberto is such a tough opponent. I was expecting and hoping it would be a close match.”
Second seed Andrey Rublev played his first match since missing out on Wimbledon due to the ban on Russians, reaching the last eight 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(2) over Federico Coria.
Tournament debutant Rublev managed the wind as well as a difficult opponent as he recovered after losing a 5-3 lead in the third set to move through after more than two and a half hours.
“I’m happy that I won, Federico played really well today, especially in the third set when he raised the level,” the winner said. “It was really tough to play against.”
Rublev is seeking a fourth title this season after winning events in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade.