ATP Kitzbuhel: Dominic Thiem marches on. Jeremy Chardy tops Dusan Lajovic


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ATP Kitzbuhel: Dominic Thiem marches on. Jeremy Chardy tops Dusan Lajovic

The top seed Dominic Thiem is trying to become the first Austrian champion in Kitzbuhel since Thomas Muster in 1993, defeating Sebastian Ofner 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 16 minutes for the 26th victory of the season. Serving at 81%, Roland Garros finalist lost only 12 points behind the initial shot, getting broken once and taking half of the return points for five breaks and the place in the quarters.

Dominic drew first blood in the third game before losing four points in a row on serve, allowing Sebastian to break back with a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner. Ofner squandered three game points to fall 3-2 behind and gave the opener to Thiem after a big forehand error at 3-5.

Dominic served well in set number two to mount the pressure on his rival, securing the break in the fourth game and moving over the top with a forehand winner at 5-2 to advance into the quarters. Pablo Andujar is through to the third ATP quarter-final of the season and the second in two weeks after Gstaad, ousting the struggling German and a former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes.

The Spaniard saved three out of four break points and delivered three breaks that kept him in front all the time. Suffering an early setback in set number two, Kohlschreiber gave his best to remain within one break deficit, saving two match points on serve at 3-5 and creating two break chances a few minutes later that could have helped him to prolong the encounter.

Andujar saved both and converted the third match point to seal the deal and stay on the title course. The 3rd seed Fernando Verdasco lost in the first round in Bastad and Gstaad, heading to Kitzbuhel determined to change that and return to the winning path.

The veteran toppled Jozef Kovalik 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 49 minutes, scoring one break more than his rival and saving three set points in the second set tie break to prevail in straight sets and avoid spending more time on the court.

After repelling eight match points against Federico Delbonis in the opening round, the 7th seed Lorenzo Sonego had to work hard against Roberto Carballes Baena as well, coming from 5-2 down in the decider and saving the match point at 3-5 to force a tie break that he won 7-1 for another great escape and the place in the quarter-final.

The young Norwegian Casper Ruud ousted Matthias Bachinger 6-4, 7-6 in another close clash, playing on a higher level in the closing stages of the second set to move over the top and find himself in the fourth quarter-final of the season.

The 4th seed Pablo Cuevas lost the opening set against Dennis Novak before taking the upper hand in sets two and three for a 6-7, 6-0, 6-2 triumph in just under two hours. Novak stayed neck and neck with the better-ranked rival in the opener before fading from the court, winning only five points on the return in sets two and three and allowing Cuevas to march into the next round.

Gstaad champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas has finally found the winning formula in the recent weeks, toppling the compatriot Jaume Munar 6-2, 6-3 in 74 minutes for the third consecutive quarter-final on the Tour. Ramos-Vinolas lost 11 points behind the initial shot, saving both break points he faced and delivering four breaks that kept him safe all the time against the young countryman.

Jeremy Chardy took down the 2nd seed Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 42 minutes, winning three points more than the Serb and moving through with the crucial break in the sixth game of the decider, producing three great holds in between to advance into the last eight.