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Monday August 2nd, 2021 9:30PM

Thiem right at home in 1st-round win at a chilly French Open

By The Associated Press
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PARIS (AP) — Dominic Thiem felt right at home in the cold of the French Open on Monday.

While most players have complained about the chilly weather conditions at Roland Garros, the third-seeded Thiem had no such concerns as he advanced to the second round by beating Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

The temperature on Court Philippe Chatrier dropped as low as 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).

“I love the conditions because I’m from Austria, because I know how it is in these cold conditions," Thiem said on court. “Ten, 15 degrees, I love it.”

Two weeks ago, Thiem won his first major tournament at the U.S. Open in New York.

For his switch to the clay courts of Roland Garros, where he has lost the past two finals to Rafael Nadal, he faced a big-serving Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion. But Cilic dropped his serve six times against Thiem.

Even when Cilic broke for a 2-0 lead in the third set, Thiem broke straight back as Cilic sliced a volley at the net wide.

A forehand down the line gave Thiem his first match point, and he clinched it when Cilic returned a timid second serve into the net.

Adapting to clay so soon after hard courts was a unique sensation for Thiem.

“Very short, never happened before that two major tournaments are two weeks (apart),” he said. “I was facing another great champion today so the transition to the clay and the cold conditions went really well. I really love this tournament."

Thiem will next face American qualifier Jack Sock, who beat Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

Serena Williams and Nadal were to follow Thiem on Chatrier, the main court at Roland Garros.

Chasing a 24th major title to equal Margaret Court's record, Williams was facing Kristie Ahn in an all-American match.

Also, fifth-seeded Kiki Bertens beat Katarina Zavatska 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, and No. 7 Petra Kvitova defeated Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5.

In other men's play, 19th-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime lost to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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