For the second year in a row, the Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem has failed to make an impression in Rio de Janeiro, losing 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round to Laslo Djere in 80 minutes for the fourth loss in 2019. It was another feeble and pale performance from the Austrian who lost 55% of the points in his games and suffer five breaks from eight chances he gave to the Serb after spraying almost 30 unforced errors.
Djere also had more errors than winners although he managed to tame his strokes in a much more efficient way, playing brave and aggressive tennis and giving the serve away only twice for the career-best triumph. Nothing could have suggested the outcome when Thiem broke at 15 at the beginning of the match with a deep return, losing serve at love in the very next game and grappling to find the rhythm in the rest of the set.
Laslo broke him again in the eighth game, sealing the opener in the next game when Dominic netted a return, moving 6-3 up after 43 minutes. Things went from bad to worse for 2017 champion, losing serve at the start of the second set and finding himself 5-2 down after a backhand error in game seven that pushed Djere closer to the finish line.
The Serb couldn't hold nerves while serving for the match, playing a loose game to keep Thiem in the encounter before finding the wrap up the win with a break at love in game nine when his forehand return found the perfect spot away from the Austrian.
Casper Ruud reached the semi-final here in Rio de Janeiro two years ago and he is back on the winning way, qualifying for the main draw and ousting the veteran Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes. The Norwegian fended off all four break points he faced, mounting the pressure on Carlos who couldn't deal with it, losing 56% of the points in his games and losing serve four times to finish his journey in the opening round.
The youngster broke at 15 already in game two and he saved those four break points in the next couple of service games to forge a 4-1 lead. The Argentinian struggled with a back injury and he lost serve at love in the seventh game when his forehand landed long, allowing Casper to close the opener with a good serve at 5-1.
Ruud broke twice in the initial games of the second set and he never looked back, firing four winners at 5-2 for his first ATP win since Bastad last July. The 5th seed Joao Sousa needed two hours and 13 minutes to topple Cordoba finalist Guido Pella 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 13 minutes, prevailing with a late break in the deciding set to become one of the rare seeds who managed to pass the first obstacle here in Rio.
A home star Thiago Monteiro lost serve four times against Pedro Sousa but he had the upper hand on the return, winning more than 60% of the points and scoring seven breaks for a 6-3, 6-2 triumph in swift 68 minutes and the place in the second round.
In the longest match of the day, Roberto Carballes Baena defeated the 8th seed Nicolas Jarry 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in two hours and 59 minutes, repelling three match points at 3-6 in the deciding tie break and cementing his triumph with a service winner at 7-6, winning the last five points for a great escape.
A qualifier Hugo Dellien notched a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Guido Andreozzi in an hour and 27 minutes to become the first Bolivian player with an ATP win since Mario Martinez at Roland Garros in 1984, trailing 3-1 in both sets before staging a comeback that earned a historic achievement for him.