Dominic Thiem claimed his 35th victory of the season, toppling qualifier Maximilian Marterer 7-5 6-3 in 84 minutes. Hard-hitting German fought well but he lost his serve once in each set to finish on the losing side, although he had a lot of chances to make the match more interesting.
Thiem had 7 aces but also 8 double faults, and he fends off all 7 break points to keep his serve intact. Both players had 2 break points earlier in the match but they held to stay toe to toe, until game 12 when Thiem broke at 15 to seal the opener by 7-5.
Marterer wasted 3 break points in the 3rd game of the second set and he got broken in the following game to trail 3-1. Dominic did well to repel two break points in game 9 when he served for the match, clinching it by 6-3 and moving to the next round.
Dustin Brown made a winning start in front of the home crowd, ousting Vasek Pospisil 6-1 6-7 7-6 in 2 hours and 14 minutes. Everything looked great for the German in the opening set, serving and returning well, but Vasek raised his level to be much more competitive in the next two sets (he saved 5 match points in the 12th game of the second set).
Strangely, they had only 17 aces in total, and there were 20 break points. Dustin fends off 7 out of 8 in the second set and he didn't face a single one in the other two sets, while Vasek dropped serve 4 times from 12 chances Brown had, mainly thanks to that weak first set.
Dustin scored 3 easy breaks in the first set for a 6-1, but in the second set, they both had to dig deep in service games, saving 15 out of 17 break points to reach the tie break. As we said, Pospisil was on a verge of defeat in the final game of the set, resisting 5 match points, and the award came in the tie break, which he won by 7-3 to set up a decider.
There, we finally had a chance to see a real battle, with quick games and only one deuce, entering the final tie break to decide the winner. Pospisil made an early mini-break but he couldn't hold it, Dustin grabbed 7 out of the last 9 points to clinch it by 7-4 for his first ATP win since Houston.
First round results: