By Ken Ferris
PARIS (Reuters) – Austrian Dominic Thiem overcame a tough test to reach the French Open third round with a 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 7-5 win over defiant Kazakh Alexander Bublik on Court Philippe Chatrier on Thursday.
Fourth seed Thiem, who reached the final at Roland Garros last year, had to use his full range of shots to overcome 91st ranked Bublik, who put up a fight against the ‘prince of clay’.
The fancied Thiem, who is looking for his first Grand Slam success, broke Bublik in the second game of the first set and, while the Kazakh produced a cheeky underarm serve that helped him hold for 4-2, he did not threaten the Austrian’s serve.
However, the 25-year-old Thiem was broken in the fourth game of the second set and, despite battling back with a break of his own at 5-3 down, the Austrian was outfoxed in the tiebreak.
Thiem was clearly in a contest against the tricky Bublik, who was making his Roland Garros debut at 21, and had to dig deep before breaking in the eighth game and taking the third.
Bublik never gave up in the first meeting between the pair and broke in the second game of the fourth before squandering two set points at 5-2. Thiem sensed his chance and took the next five games to wrap up victory with an exquisite drop shot.
(Reporting by Ken Ferris; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)