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“It’s a long time” – Dominic Thiem returns to the ATP winner’s circle after 426 days

Dominic Thiem’s long journey back to the winner’s circle is complete. The former world No 3 defeated Emil Ruusuvuori for his first ATP victory in 14 months on Tuesday.

Dominic Thiem Rome 2022 Dominic Thiem (AUT) during the first round against Fabio Fognini (ITA) of the ATP Master 1000 Internazionali BNL D’Italia tournament at Foro Italico on May 9, 2022 Zuma / Panoramic

Dominic Thiem’s long wait for a victory has finally ended, as the Austrian edged past Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), on Tuesday at the Nordea Open in Bastad, Sweden to earn his first ATP victory in 14 months.

Thiem, who had not won on tour since defeating Marton Fucsovics at Rome in 2021, had lost ten straight ATP-level matches. Since then he has battled to get healthy, with wrist and hand issues keeping him off the court for nine months from late June of 2021 to late March of this year.

Unseeded Thiem will face No 4-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut in second-round action at Bastad.

339-ranked Thiem converted five of seven break point opportunities to find his way to victory in two hours and 37 minutes.

“I didn’t have a very good start and then I was fighting really good,” Thiem said, “but I had a really tough period with many losses, not many wins, so it was really difficult for me to to close out the match. Even though I played pretty good in second and third set – I’m happy with that – but I have to control the nerves a little bit better, especially when it got to the end.”

Thiem – happy to get double-fault charity on match point

Thiem, who trailed 2-0 in the final set, and later squandered a break lead while serving at 4-3, said he was happy that Ruusuvuori double-faulted on match point because he was experiencing a lot of nerves at that moment.

“I was happy that he gave the match to me with a double fault, I really needed that,” he said with a smile. “It’s a long time. Last victory on ATP Tour was Rome, 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, and for all my tennis and I’m so happy that I got this first victory here today.”

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