Unheralded world number 90 Laslo Djere registered the first ever win of his clay court career and it came at the expense of the top seeded Dominic Thiem who was relegated to a straight-set defeat in the first round at the 2019 Rio Open.
Djere won five breaks of serve in his 6-3, 6-3 rout of the world number eight, Thiem, to record his first ever win against a top-10 player.
Thiem hasn’t been in his best form, but did make it to the semi-final last week at the Argentina Open where he went down to Diego Schwartzman in a hard-fought thriller. And while there had been early exists at the Doha Open and Australian Open earlier in the year, even Thiem might not have seen this defeat coming, especially its one-sided nature.
It wasn’t the brightest start for Djere as he was broken in the very first game of the match but came back strongly to get past Thiem’s serve on two different occasions.
This was followed by the second set in which the world number 90 got an early break and proceeded to win two more breaks of serve to wrap up a straight-set victory.
Speaking to the media at the end of the match, the Serbian acknowledged he felt great while playing and winning his biggest one of his career.
“He played a bit worse than normally I think, to be honest. But I had a great day. I felt the ball really well, hitting well from the baseline and then attacking well when it was time for that.”
The bigger question is the immediate future of Thiem who has, so far, looked a pale shadow of himself this year what with form and fitness concerns. Having made the French Open final last year, he would look at some of the clay court tournaments after the two Masters tournaments in March to get back his mojo.
The tournament organisers at the Rio Open this year would be cursing their luck as the second seeded Fabio Fognini also bit the early dust. The Italian lost his opening round match in much the same manner as Thiem, going down in straight sets, to 18-year-old wild-card Félix Auger-Aliassime.