Dominic Thiem showed flashes of his Top 3 form as the Austrian held off a challenge from Frenchman Hugo Gaston for a 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(7) victory in the second round of the ATP event in Gstaad.
Former No. 3 Thiem, who is coming back after a wrist injury in June of last season, backed up his two victories last week as he rallied to overcome the 59th-ranked Gaston in Gstaad on Tuesday.
Thiem’s ranking is down to 274 but he is playing this week on protected ranking due to his injury recovery.
Seventh-seeded Gaston lost the final a year ago here.
2020 US Open winner Thiem was throttled in the opening set played in sizzling 35 Celsius conditions.
But the Austrian fought back to dominate the second and saved a match point in the final-set tiebreaker before advancing to the second round on his second winning opportunity.
“It’s always really challenging. That tie-break in the third set was very, very tough,” Thiem said.
“The first two sets were very one-sided, the first for Hugo and the second for me.
“Then the third set, no breaks so the tie-break had to decide it. Tie-breaks in deciding sets are always somehow 50/50. It was so close.
“I’m really happy that I got the win.”
Thiem won the Gstaad title seven years ago but has only now made a return to the high-altitude clay of the alpine village.
The winner of 17 Tour titles finished with seven aces while breaking Gaston twice on the two-hour test
The winner said acclimating to 1,050 metres of altitude took some time.
“I had some troubles getting used to the conditions. Also, he played well.He was a] finalist last year so he gave me a lot of trouble.
“Once I made that first break in the second set, I then loosened up a little bit. I started to play better and better and it paid off at the end.”
Thiem advances to face Federico Delbonis, who was a 6-4, 7-5 winner against Mikael Ymer on Tuesday.
France’s Richard Gasquet, the 36-year-old who played the Gstaad final a dozen years ago, advanced 7-5, 6-4 over Roberto Carballes Baena. But Gallic compatriot Benoit Paire quit after 41 minutes to exit 6-2, 2-0 to Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer.