Holder Dominc Thiem got off to a winning start on Tuesday at his hometown ATP tournament in Vienna, reaching the second round 6-4, 7-5 over a No. 529th-ranked challenger.
The second seed and reigning US Open winner won his 10th consecutive match in Austria with the defeat of Ukrainian Vitaliy Sachko.
The 23-year-old was a late replacement for Kei NIshikori, Thiem’s original opponent who withdrew with the chronic shoulder injury which kept him off court for a year until last month.
Thiem finished with 20 winners as he reached the second round at the Stadthalle, following the example set by top seed Novak Djokovic a few hours earlier.
The Austrian is in the hunt for a third-straight title at home after winning Kitzbuehel and here in 2019.
“Everyone here can play tennis really well,” Thiem said as he played his first match since losing in the French Open quarter-finals this month.
“I shut down completely after Paris. The first match after such a break is never easy – especially against an opponent you don’t know.
“It’s wonderful to come back to Vienna, playing in front of 1,000 people who create a sensational atmosphere … Thanks to everyone,” he told the virus-restricted crowd.
Thiem let his mind wander slightly after taking a 5-1 first set lead and managed to lose serve twice before breaking to take the set.
In the second he was broken twice, saving himself by taking his opponent’s serve three more times and concluding with a backhand winner down the line.