Playing in front of the home crowd for the 7th year in a row, Dominic Thiem scored only his 6th win in Vienna, defeating talented Russian Andrey Rublev by 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 20 minutes. Thiem struggled to find his first serve but once he landed it in he made a lot of damage, winning 22 out of 26 points.
He got broken twice in the opening set but he managed to compensate that with a solid performance on the return, winning almost 50% of the points on Rublev's serve and breaking him 4 times from 8 opportunities he created.
Andrey never found his range, hitting less than 10 winners and making more errors than Thiem, who fired 20 winners to cross the finish line first. Russian got broken in the second game after a poor attack with his forehand, even though he had the whole court opened, but he broke back at love in game 3 after a double fault from the Austrian.
Andrey even moved in front after another break in game 5 when Thiem sent the forehand beyond the baseline, although his lead was a short-lived, dropping serve in the very next game thanks to a backhand that finished in the net.
They served better in the next 3 games and Dominic created a 5-4 lead with a hold at love in game 9, forcing Andrey to serve to stay in the set. The youngster couldn't hold it and he was broken at love, handing the set to his rival after 38 minutes.
The second set was more fluid and the pivotal moment happened in the 4th game when Thiem scored the only break. Rublev had 3 game points but he couldn't convert any and he was punished after a mediocre volley at the net, losing serve to find himself in a very tough position.
Russian saved a match point in game 8 with a service winner and he had just one more chance to pull the break back and prolong the set. He saved another match point with a forehand return winner and earned a break point that could keep him in the match, but Thiem fends it off with a forehand winner.
Home player wrapped up a win on his 3rd match point, thanks to another error from his rival, booking the place in the next round. Kevin Anderson was 10th in the ATP Race for London before Vienna and he will leave the Austrian capital empty-handed, following a 6-4 6-4 loss to a qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in an hour and 33 minutes. These two played 4 interesting matches in the past and this was also a close one, with Anderson winning 2 points more than his rival but still ending on a losing side.
Kevin served at 70% and he had 13 aces, holding without any problems in 7 out of 10 service games. Garcia-Lopez had to work much harder on his serve, landing in only 43% of the first serve but facing 5 break points just like Kevin.
It all came down to those important points and Spaniard saved 4 out of 5 break chances to limit the damage, scoring 4 breaks to prevail in straight sets. The first set was decided in the 7th game when Anderson double faulted to give his serve away, unable to get the break back in the remaining games.
He had a chance for that, though, with 2 break points in the very next game but Garcia-Lopez saved both with service winners to take a 5-3 lead. Spaniard clinched the set in the 10th game with another unreturnable serve and he really used his opportunities well, since Anderson lost just 2 points in his other 4 service games.
The second set started in a completely different manner, with 3 breaks in the first 4 games, and Anderson suffered 2 breaks to find himself 3-1 down. He could have got it back in the 8th game but his focus just wasn't there, Guillermo fends them off with a forehand and service winner, and he served for the match in the 10th game.
He needed no less than 6 to seal the deal, firing another service winner for only his 5th ATP win of the season and the first since Roland Garros. First round results: