Dimitrov, Thiem survive early scares in Monte Carlo


(Reuters) – Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov survived a scare against Pierre-Hugues Herbert before holding his nerve to win 3-6 6-2 6-4 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday, while Dominic Thiem edged out Russian youngster Andrey Rublev.

Tennis – ATP – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco – April 17, 2018 Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in action during his second round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Dimitrov was far from his best in the first set, dropping his serve twice against French qualifier Herbert.

The 26-year-old Bulgarian rallied back in the second set with consecutive breaks before serving out to love.

Dimitrov secured a crucial break in the fifth game of the decider and went on seal a third round spot with a powerful forehand, which world number 82 Herbert returned long.

Tennis – ATP – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco – April 17, 2018 Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov after winning his second round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Fifth seed Thiem produced a battling display to save a match point and beat Andrey Rublev 5-7 7-5 7-5 in the second round.

Thiem led 4-1 in the final set before his 20-year-old Russian opponent recovered and was one point away from victory at 5-4 and 40-30 but hit a forehand narrowly wide.

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Thiem, a twice French Open semi-finalist, regained his timing to break back against Rublev before another break in the 12th game secured victory.

The 24-year-old Austrian, who is returning from a five-week absence due to an ankle injury, next faces former world number one Novak Djokovic or Croatia’s Borna Coric for a quarter-final berth.

“I was 10 centimeters from being out of the tournament,” Thiem said.

“But I’m happy that I played two hours and 40 (minutes). I’m looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV, and then playing the winner on Thursday.”

Last year’s semi-finalist Lucas Pouille blew a one-set lead to suffer a shock 2-6 6-1 7-6(3) defeat to German serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev recovered from a slow start to claim a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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