World No. 4 Thiem upset in French Open first round
World No. 4 Dominic Thiem lost a two-set lead in opening-round play at the French Open and was upset by Spaniard Pablo Andujar on Sunday in Paris.
Andujar, unseeded and ranked No. 68, advanced with a 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Thiem, a two-time finalist at Roland Garros.
It was the first win over a Top 5 player for Andujar and the first time he rebounded from two sets down to win a match. For the fourth-seeded Thiem of Austria, it was the first opening-round loss in Paris in eight appearances.
“It is very special to win here at Roland Garros,” Andujar, 35, said. “[It was] such an emotional win for me, being two-sets-to-love down against an amazing player.”
It took Andujar four hours and 28 minutes to oust the 27-year-old Thiem, who is the reigning U.S. Open champion. Earlier this month, Andujar defeated Roger Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slams, on clay in Federer’s home country of Switzerland.
“I think it’s true that the victory over Roger has made me believe today,” Andujar said. “Maybe in another moment, I wouldn’t have kept fighting in that third set or believing that I could turn it around.”
In the decisive fifth set, Thiem lost serve in the first game but quickly rebounded with his own service break to even the set at 1-1. Thiem lost serve again in the fifth game, and from there, Andujar marched to victory.
“These are gifts that tennis brings you,” said Andujar, a four-time ATP Tour winner, all on clay courts. “I’m a guy who has never really been on the front covers or in the spotlight, and for me, these two victories are like Father Christmas came early.”
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 30, 2021
Another top player had his back to the wall but rebounded to take a five-set win.
Alexander Zverev, the World No. 6, dropped the first two sets to fellow German Oscar Otte before kicking into high gear and winning 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. The victory over the Otte, ranked No. 152, moved Zverev to 7-0 in five-set matches in Paris.
Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands also rallied from two sets down to oust No. 19 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
Also winning in five sets was Kei Nishikori of Japan, who topped Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Nishikori moved to 25-7 in five-setters in his career, including 10 of the past 11, as he rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the fifth set.
Nishikori hit 56 winners and broke Giannessi’s serve 10 times, including twice in the final set.
“I have to figure it out, how to win in three sets,” Nishikori said.
Seeded players to advance to the second round Sunday included No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 11 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta, both of Spain, as well as No. 22 Cristian Garin of Chile, No. 23 Karen Khachanov of Russia and No. 27 Fabio Fognini of Italy.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, the 16th seed, was ahead two sets to one but trailing 3-0 in the fourth set when he retired due to a back injury.