Following his defeat to Ugo Umbert at the ATP Challenger Open de Rennes’ singles final, held in France last Sunday, Dominic Thiem confirms his presence at the Moselle Open, setting off his campaign on Tuesday.
Former world number three Dominic Thiem made his third appearance at a Challenger tournament thus far this season, the first since his early exit at the U.S. Open in August.
The 29-year-old got tested at the top event but managed to find some of his best shots in the semifinals by overcoming local player Hugo Gaston, to reach the championship match, meeting 8-time ATP Challenger titlist Ugo Humbert.
In the spotlight on home soil, the Frenchman was the best player on court Sunday, beating Thiem in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0, as the Austrian seemed out of balance, losing his serve, particularly in the second set.
On Monday, the 2020 U.S. Open champion assessed his performance through social media, writing: “I am not happy with my performance yesterday, but it was a good week.
“It feels great that my shots get back their old strength. Now it’s time to get more solid and used to playing long and intense matches back to back.”
In addition, he confirmed his appearance at the Moselle Open, stating: “I enjoyed the week here in Rennes. See you all in Metz.”
The Open Blot Rennes finalists will join a standout field, which includes top seed Daniil Medvedev making his debut at the venue.
Thiem, currently sitting at World No. 182, entered the ATP 250 tournament with a protected ranking. His journey in Metz will begin on Tuesday when he hits the court to face wild card Richard Gasquet.
The 36-year-old leads their series 2 to 1, having met for the last time in 2019 at the ATP 500 China Open in Beijing. The Austrian beat Gasquet in the first round, advancing into the final, where he ousted Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the trophy.
For his part, Rennes’ champion, Humbert, will join them as he has been awarded a wild card into the competition.
On Wednesday, a duel of Frenchmen will see Humbert playing Benjamin Bonzi in a rematch of his recent dramatic encounter at the U.S. Open, which the latter won in five sets.
The 19th edition of the Moselle Open, running from September 19 to 25, also welcomes back the defending champion and second seed, Hubert Hurkacz; last season, the Pole player enjoyed an impressive run that saw him claiming the singles and doubles title without dropping a set.
Another player making his debut at the venue is 22-year-old Sebastian Korda, competing in his first indoor event since the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, held last November in Milan, Italy.
On Monday, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka earned his place in the main draw by toppling Hungarian Zsombor Piros.
Daniel Vallverdu’s pupil recovered from a set down to steal victory 6-7, 6-2, 6-0.
The Swiss will meet next Portuguese Joao Sousa; the winner of this match will face World No. 4 Medvedev.
Thiem spent over nine months sidelined from Tour due to a wrist injury, returning to tour level last March.
His best results this season include back-to-back quarterfinals - recorded first win on Tour since May 2021 at the Nordea Open, and a week later, the 17-time ATP titlist reached the last four at the Swiss Open.
In addition, he advanced to the quarterfinals on home soil at the Generali Open Kitzbuhel, falling to German Yannick Hanfmann in three sets.
In 2016, Thiem became a finalist in ‘The Green City,’ losing to home hero Lucas Pouille on Court Patrice Dominguez in straight sets.
Twenty-eight-year-old, Pouille, remains the last French player to win the tournament to this date.