Dominic Thiem admits he wasn’t at his best in his French Open first round clash with Tommy Paul and was delighted to progress in four sets.
Thiem reached the final in Paris last year, losing out to Rafael Nadal, but found himself in real danger of falling 2-1 behind as American wildcard Paul was 4-0 up in the third set tie-break.
The Austrian battle back and won seven of the next eight points to claim the set before coming through with a 6-4 4-6 7-6(7-5) 6-2 victory in two hours and 34 minutes.
“I wasn’t playing my best today, that’s for sure and we all could see what happens if I don’t play my best tennis. He was playing amazing. It was very, very close,” said Thiem.
“I didn’t play my best tennis and he really took advantage of that. He made it very tough for me out there. The most positive thing I am taking from the match today is the fourth set, because I freed myself. I played way faster, I made things way tougher for him.
“I moved him around way more. That’s what I tried to build up on this fourth set. And of course [winning from] 0-4 in a breaker is nice for the confidence and for the fighting spirit.”
Thiem takes on Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in the second round on Thursday. Thiem is 1.33 to beat Bublik 3-0 and 7.50 to win the French Open outright.