Rublev ends Australian Open of former finalist Thiem | Tennis news

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Rublev defeated Thiem in the first round of the 2023 Australian Open©UKTN

The Australian Open’s 2020 finalist Dominic Thiem ended in the first round on Tuesday, as the former world number three crashed out to fifth seed Andrey Rublev after returning from injury. While the Russian Rublev had a clear advantage in terms of the current ranking, Thiem had a much bigger Grand Slam pedigree as the 2020 US Open champion. He is also a two-time finalist at Roland Garros. But the Austrian, ranked 98, was outplayed in 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 Fahrenheit) heat as he returned from a wrist injury that kept him out for nine months throughout the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

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Rublev recorded a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over John Cain Arena – his first of the year after two losses in warm-up events, with Australia’s Max Purcell or Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori as his next opponent.

“First of all, I’m glad I got through it in two sets. It was super hot today, so I’m glad I can save some energy for future matches,” said Rublev, who reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne in 2021 and won last year four titles.

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“When you play against Dominic, it’s never easy.

“We’re really good friends and I know he’s not going through an easy time, so I want to wish him all the best to get back to the same level where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Thiem has shown encouraging signs on his return to the tour, rising from outside the top 350 to break into the top 100 this year after last year’s semi-finals in Gstaad, Gijon and Antwerp.

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It was the pair’s seventh meeting, but their first at a Grand Slam, with Rublev now leading 5–2.

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