Thiem continues to fall, loses to Bolivian Dellien in France

PARIS (AP) — In the past, everything was easy for Dominic Thiem on the court: his powerful forehand, his elegant backhand, his good decisions, all well calibrated to the point of winning the US Open and playing in three Grand Slam finals, including two at Roland Garros.

Today, if the tendon he tore in his right wrist last year no longer hurts him, his shooting and, more disconcertingly, his resources, are not what they used to be. After his elimination in the first round of Roland-Garros on Sunday, Thiem recorded his 10th consecutive defeat.

The gift is so bad for the 28-year-old Austrian that after dropping from third place in the world rankings to 194, he admitted after his 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 loss to Hugo Dellien, that it might be time to go play in a Challenger tournament, the second category of tennis, to clinch a victory and gain some confidence.

After lamenting the performance of his forehand, backhand and too low first serve percentage, Thiem mentioned the most important: “Sometimes I make stupid decisions during the rally… I don’t play well when I play… For example, there was a match today where I made four or five errors on the forehand returns, and I was like ‘what the hell is going on? ?’

His premature elimination was not the only significant event of the first day of the second big game of the year, played on a cloudy and drizzly day, which had a pre-pandemic scenario: full of people, cheers and no masks .

Thiem fell to Rafael Nadal in the Paris finals in 2018 and 2019 and to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in 2020, and his previous triumph dates back to May 2021. But no matter what situation he is going through, there were others perhaps more surprising. results.

The most striking in the women’s branch was the defeat of the Tunisian Ons Jabeur. The sixth seed lost 3-6, 7-6 (4) and 7-5 to Poland’s Magda Linette, 56th in the standings.

Jabeur, the first Arab woman to win a WTA title and the first to reach the quarter-finals in a Grand Slam competition, admitted: “I expected to go further in this tournament.”

Jabeur emerged victorious with his 17 victories on clay this season, including the Madrid Open title and the Italian Open final.

Garbiñe Muguruza, another top-10 seed and 2016 champion, lost 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, ranked world No. 46.

Muguruza beat Serena Williams in the Roland Garros final six years ago and Venus Williams in the 2017 Wimbledon final but has now lost her opener in Paris two years in a row.

Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spanish boy who, as the sixth seed, is among the main favorites to win his maiden Grand Slam title, started with a placid 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 win against Argentinian Juan Ignacio Londero in the last match of the day on the Philippe Chatrier court.

Félix Auger-Aliassime (seed 9) avoided the surprise. He also recorded his first French Open victory in three tries and won a match after losing the first two sets.

The 20-year-old Canadian came from behind to eliminate 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas, who passed the qualifications to participate in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Auger-Aliassime will face Argentinian Camilo Ugo Carabelli. In his Grand Slam debut and first ATP Tour main draw match, Ugo Carabelli overturned a 2-5 deficit in the fifth set and beat Russia’s Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 , 3-6. , 7 -6 (5).

World 87-year-old Bolivian Dellien was 2-7 in Grand Slam matches. But he remained firm in the rallies from the bottom from start to finish.

“Today he wasn’t at his best like he was before, but regardless, I had to beat him,” Dellien said. “It’s an important step in my career.”

Also on Sunday, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman (15th seed) picked up his 50th Grand Slam victory after beating Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas and Colombian María Camila Osorio also emerged victorious on their debuts. Cuevas upset 31st seeded American Jenson Brooksby 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, while Osorio took down Harmony Tan of France 6-4, 6-3.

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