World No.3 Dominic Thiem suffered a shock defeat at the hands of compatriot Sebastian Ofner in the ongoing Generali Austrian Pro Series. Ofner, who is at the 163rd position in the ATP Rankings, upset Thiem 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 to record the most significant win of his professional tennis career.
Dominic Thiem has struggled to get going in the his home country's exhibition tournament. All of his opponents are ranked much lower than him, but the 2020 Australian Open runner-up had still dropped two sets in his first five matches. And this evening, he lost his first match since February against the spirited Sebastian Ofner.
Sebastian Ofner puts Dominic Thiem on the backfoot with his big groundstrokes
Sebastian Ofner, who had teamed up with Dominic Thiem at the 2020 ATP Cup, brought his 'A' game to the table right from the start. He produced a string of big shots to push Thiem behind the baseline, and he bossed many of the long rallies.
Ofner had grabbed the headlines back in 2017 when he made it to the main draw of Wimbledon. The Austrian player then upset big names like Thomaz Bellucci and Jack Sock before losing in the third round.
A few months later he even picked up a win over Uruguayan star Pablo Cuevas, and in 2018 he won his maiden ATP Challenger title. However, he has not been able to perform consistently on tour, which has kept him out of the top 150 on the ATP charts.
Now it seems like the 24-year-old player has worked on his game under Wolfgang Thiem, to upset the coach's highly talented son.
Ofner showed nerves of steel against Dominic Thiem in the first set as he won the tiebreaker 7-4. The two-time French Open runner-up made a comeback in the second set, claiming it with the scoreline 7-6(2).
In the final set, Sebastian took an early lead and sealed the match with a 6-4 win. The encounter lasted nearly three hours, and by the end both men looked exhausted.
How Dominic Thiem has fared so far in the Generali Austrian Pro Series
The Generali Austrian Pro Series has been underway in Austria for a week, with the nation's top tennis players competing in an exhibition tournament. Dominic Thiem returned to the court after the COVID-19 break and defeated Lenny Hampel, Jurij Rodionov, Jürgen Melzer, David Pichler, Sandro Kopp and Lucas Miedler in his first six matches.
But after the defeat to Ofner on Monday, Dominic Thiem would want to get back to the practice court and work out the kinks in his game. While there are no significant stakes in this competition, Thiem would want to be completely match-fit when the tour resumes in a couple of months.