(Reuters) – Dominic Thiem had a nightmarish start to his US Open preparations when he was bundled out in his first match of the Western & Southern Open last week but the world number three is confident, he can turn things around in time for the Grand Slam.
The Austrian is seeded No.2 at Flushing Meadows in the absence of Rafa Nadal and is expected to pose the strongest challenge for top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who beat Thiem in a five-set thriller in this year’s Australian Open final.
Thiem, however, managed to win just three games in his second-round match against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic at the Western & Southern Open after getting a first-round bye.
Thiem, who was also a finalist at the last two French Opens, begins his U.S. Open campaign on Tuesday against Spaniard Jaume Munar, whom he beat in Brazil in his last tournament before the circuit was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Players rarely stick around host cities after an early defeat but with the Western & Southern Open taking place in New York this year due to the pandemic, Thiem had nowhere to go.