The defending champion and the home favorite Dominic Thiem is through to the second round in Vienna after a shaky performance in the opener. Facing world no. 529 Vitaliy Sachko, Thiem prevailed 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 47 minutes, losing serve four times and delivering six breaks to move through in straight sets.
Dominic had 20 winners and 25 unforced errors, dropping 40% of the initial shot points but doing enough on the return to cross the finish line first. A lucky loser sent a volley long in the second game to give serve away, with Thiem opening a 3-0 advantage after 11 minutes.
The Austrian moved 5-1 up with a backhand down the line winner, looking good to seal the deal soon after that. Out of sudden, Vitaliy broke at love in game seven to prolong the set, holding at love a few minutes later to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
Losing ground in those moments, Dominic sprayed a forehand error in the ninth game to lose the advantage, finally securing the set with the third break at 5-4 to close the opener after 40 minutes. They traded breaks at the beginning of the second set and Dominic produced another one at 2-1 when Sachko hit a double fault.
The Ukrainian broke back in game seven thanks to a loose forehand from the home star, holding after two deuces in game ten to prolong the set. Returning at 6-5, Thiem landed a backhand down the line winner to earn a break and clinch the victory despite many ups and downs.
Grigor Dimitrov ousted Karen Khachanov 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 23 minutes, hitting 25 winners and 18 unforced errors. Grigor lost 16 points in 11 service games, suffering two breaks and stealing 40% of the points behind Karen's initial shot, enough for three breaks and a straight-sets triumph.
Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem are through to the second round in Vienna.
Khachanov broke in game four to move in front and lost the advantage in the very next game after a terrible volley at the net. The returners barely won a point in the next seven games, setting the tie break where they also stayed neck and neck.
Karen led 5-3 but squandered the advantage, fending off the first set point at 5-6 with a backhand down the line winner before Grigor converted the second at 7-6 with a forehand down the line winner for a massive boost. The Russian hit a double fault in the second game of the second set to fall further behind.
The Bulgarian opened a 4-1 gap with a comfortable hold in game and secured another break a few minutes later. Karen pulled one break back in game seven before Grigor held at love at 5-3 to move over the top and reach the last 16.