French Open 2020: Dominic Thiem moves to second round by beating Marin CilicSeptember 29, 2020
Dominic Thiem showed no sign of a hangover from his U.S. Open triumph as he began his Roland Garros campaign with an impressive 6-4 6-3 6-3 win over Marin Cilic on Monday.
Third seed Thiem, beaten by Rafa Nadal in the last two French Open finals, was handed a tough first round against the Croatian former U.S. Open champion, but was straight into the groove under the roof on Court Phillipe Chatrier.
Cilic, who before Thiem’s Flushing Meadows win this month was the most recent first-time Grand Slam champion courtesy of his New York title in 2014, made things difficult for Thiem with some aggressive tactics but faltered at crucial moments.
Thiem broke the Cilic serve at 4-4 in the first set and then came from 0-40 down to seal the opening set.
Using his powerful single-handed backhand to damaging effect on the heavy claycourt, Thiem dominated the second set.
The 27-year-old lapsed briefly to trail 0-2 in the third but switched on the afterburners to reel off five games in a row before 40th-ranked Cilic stopped the rot.
Thiem had to save a break point when he served at 5-3 and claimed his fourth win in four meetings with Cilic as the Croat netted a return off a second serve.
Auger-Aliassime makes early French Open exit
Felix Auger-Aliassime’s main draw debut at the French Open ended in brutal fashion with a first-round exit as the Canadian was humbled 7-5 6-3 6-3 by Yoshihito Nishioka on Monday.
The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime, in his second senior appearance at Roland Garros after losing in qualifying in 2018, never found his range under threatening skies on Court Nine.
Nishioka dropped serve early in the first set before taking control of the rallies and benefiting from his 19th-seeded opponent’s 58 unforced errors.
He will next face French wildcard Hugo Gaston.