One year ago in Paris, Thiem reached his first Grand Slam final, with only 11-time champion Rafael Nadal being able to stop him. The 25-year-old brings momentum to this tournament again, having captured his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells and defeating Nadal en route to the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell trophy without dropping a set at that ATP 500 event.
Paul, who earned his spot via a reciprocal wild card provided to the USTA, proved a difficult opponent for Thiem, showing no fear of stepping into the court and trading blows with the big-hitting World No. 4. But the difference came in the third-set tie-break, when Paul let slip a 4/0 lead with errors he had not hit throughout the match.
That was the only advantage Thiem needed, raising his already high level another notch, hitting 10 winners to just two unforced errors in the fourth set to triumph after two hours and 31 minutes.
Thiem will next face 21-year-old Kazakh Alexander Bublik, who beat #NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-6(2) in two hours and 34 minutes. It will be their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. This is Bublik’s first appearance in the main draw at Roland Garros.
“I’m still very disappointed. He’s a very good clay-court player.
Conditions were not easy. It was windy. I didn’t feel stable,” Janvier said. “I did my utmost. He was stronger than I was. I can’t say much about this.”
No. 28 seed Kyle Edmund was tied with Frenchman 7-6(1), 5-7, 6-4, 4-6, 5-5 when play was suspended due to darkness.