If Dominic Thiem was able to banish demons from his narrow defeat to Novak Djokovic in five sets in the final of the Australian Open last year, he did well, her with a hard-fought win in the opening round against Michail To conquer Kukushkin on Monday

Back in the Rod Laver Arena – the place of this heartbreaking defeat – the third-occupied Thiem had to save a target value in the first set and recovered after a failure in the second set before hitting a 7-6 (2) 6-2 6- 3 Result against Kukushkin The 27-year-old now expects the winner of the clash between the lucky loser Hugo Dellien and the German leftist Dominik Koepfer

“He is very experienced, he played the fourth round here (2012), and I think he likes the conditions, it’s much faster,” said Thiem after the win on the pitch. “The first set was a big one Challenge, I broke down, it was an important point In general, I’m really happy to be back and have a successful first lap ”

Thiem’s ​​loss to Djokovic 12 months ago after a 2-1 lead over the world No I sat with him for several months

“I was at home, went nowhere and had a lot of time to think and reflect, not just about the final of the Australian Open but my entire career, and a lot of doubts arose: will I ever get that chance yet once, if I’m ever that close again in the Australian Open final, and that wasn’t easy, ”Thiem told the Guardian

The Austrian had another chance, however, and this time he didn’t miss it when he won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last September. He is now aiming to only become the sixth man in the Open Era winning the Australian Open title after triumphing in New York last season

Thiem did not take too many competitive measures in the run-up to the Australian Open 2021. He met Rafael Nadal in an exhibition in Adelaide and then had a short ATP Cup campaign in which he lost to Italy, who later placed second, against Matteo Berrettini, before winning a win against Benoit Paire who withdrew a set in the Austrian competition against France

That could explain why it took Thiem almost 90 minutes to find a way to solve the Kukushkin puzzle Thiem had never faced the veteran Kazakhstan and had to work hard to navigate past him

Kukushkin, ranked 90 in the world, entered the match after losing 11 of his 12 previous games in the first round at Melbourne Park But on Monday the 33-year-old showed his previous top 40 qualifications, when he troubled Thiem with his impressive ability to change the direction of the ball if necessary during a grueling marathon exchange

Thiem drew the first blood to take a 4-2 lead, but gave up his advantage when Kukushkin broke him twice to move up 6-5 and serve for the opening set in a game that went nearly 10 Lasted minutes, Thiem saved a setpoint before using his third breakpoint opportunity to turn the competition into a tiebreak

A signature Thiem backhand winner across the board helped him get a 4-2 lead in the breaker, and he ended the 72-minute mark with a flawed opening sentence

The tug of war continued in the second set, and it was Kukushkin who made the first move and with a smooth drop-shot winner to 2-0, Thiem quickly wiped the deficit away and ran away with the next six games to win the second set Then he increased the pressure to march into the round of 64 in Melbourne for the sixth time in a row

“Anyway, I felt nervous because it was a long time to slam, more than three weeks after we arrived in Adelaide. It wasn’t easy. It was amazing that we could practice, but three weeks is a long one Time, and if you are unlucky, or especially me, if I train too many days in a row, I start again to play worse instead of better. So I really had to find the right balance, “said Thiem in his press conference

“I also saw opponents today who are difficult to play, especially under these conditions. I’m glad how I did it and how I got through”

Tennis Australia recognizes that the AO takes place in Aboriginal land and we thank the traditional owners, their ancestors and elders past, present and genesis, and all of the First Nations people

Kukushkin, Dominic Thiem

World news – AU – Thiem needs time, but solves the Kukushkin riddle

Source: https://ausopen.com/articles/match-report/thiem-takes-time-solves-kukushkin-puzzle