Thiem moves past Moutet as Monfils halts Cecchinato's momentum
On his first outing since an opening-round exit at Wimbledon, Dominic Thiem eased past Corentin Moutet and into the last 16 of the German Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
The Austrian suffered an early elimination at the All England Club, trailing by two sets and a break to Marcos Baghdatis before retiring with a back problem.
A return to his favoured surface of clay saw Thiem rediscover his fitness and form, however, as he dispatched qualifier Moutet 6-4 6-2 to set up a meeting with John Millman.
Thiem and Moutet traded breaks at the start of the match but it was the latter who faltered towards the business end as the world number eight broke for a 4-3 lead.
Two comfortable service games saw Thiem take the set, although he found himself in trouble at 2-0 behind in the second.
The 24-year-old remained unbowed, however, reeling off six games in a row – claiming his third consecutive break with a deft drop-shot which left Moutet on his heels on the baseline – and victory was secured in the next when the Frenchman netted a backhand.
Meanwhile, sixth seed Marco Cecchinato saw his challenge ended abruptly by Gael Monfils, who produced a 6-4 3-6 6-4 success to advance to a second-round meeting with defending champion Leonardo Mayer.
Cecchinato, who burst onto the scene with a run to the last four of the French Open this year, was high on confidence following his triumph at the Croatia Open Umag last week but was edged out by experienced clay-court campaigner Monfils.
Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet and Aljaz Bedene were also victorious on Tuesday while, at the Swiss Open Gstaad, 2016 winner Feliciano Lopez took his place in the second round with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) triumph over Federico Delbonis.
Top seed and reigning champion Fabio Fognini begins his campaign against Jurgen Zopp on Thursday.