Date: 10 February 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 64)
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt
Prize money: AUD $80 million
Live Telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Dominic Thiem vs Dominik Koepfer preview
12 months ago, Dominic Thiem had reached the summit clash at the Australian Open - his first Slam final outside Roland Garros. Since then, a lot has changed for the Austrian, the tennis universe, and the world at large.
Thiem comes into the 2021 edition of the Melbourne Slam as the US Open champion. He is one of the top contenders for the men's singles title, alongside Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Like most other players, Dominic Thiem is short of matches heading into the season's first Major. The 27-year-old played an exhibition match in Adelaide and another two matches in last week's ATP Cup, but that's it.
Thiem's first ATP Cup match was a straight-sets loss to Matteo Berrettini, while the second was a quick win over Benoit Paire, who retired after losing the first set.
In his first-round match on Monday, Dominic Thiem struggled early on in the first set against World No. 90 Mikhail Kukushkin. However, the Austrian eventually settled down to win 7-6(2) 6-2 6-3 and advance to the second round.
His next opponent will be Germany's Dominik Koepfer, who scored a 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 win over lucky loser Hugo Dellien of Bolivia.
Koepfer is currently ranked No. 70 in the world. The German left-hander had his best result at a Major at the 2019 US Open, where he reached the last 16 after coming through as a qualifier, and he now has his sights set on the top 50.
Dominic Thiem vs Dominik Koepfer head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Dominic Thiem and Dominik Koepfer on the ATP tour. Thus, their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0.
Dominic Thiem vs Dominik Koepfer prediction
Following his first-round win, Dominic Thiem told the media that he needed some time adjusting to the faster courts in Melbourne this year - something that other players have also spoken about.
"I just needed some time to adjust," said Thiem. "I mean, I like to have time, so the fast court takes it away a little bit for me, so that's not perfect. But I have to get used to it anyway. I have the feeling that it's one of the faster tournaments I've played in recent years, but it's like that, that's tennis."
That said, the Austrian has become a force to reckon with on hardcourts, and is learning to adjust his game to different conditions.
While Koepfer's left-handed game will certainly pose a different challenge, Thiem goes into this match as the big favorite to advance to the third round.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in straight sets.