Tennis favourites Stan Wawrinka (pictured left) won his first match on the ATP Tour in more than a year, while Dominic Thiem (pictured right) continues to search for that victory after his return. (Getty Images)
Stan Wawrinka has won his first match in more than a year following his highly-anticipated return to the ATP Tout, but Dominic Thiem continues to struggle after his extended injury lay-off.
The three time grand slam winner hadn’t won on Tour in 14 months after spending time away to recover from two foot surgeries.
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Wawrinka lost in his first match back last week, but returned at the Rome Masters and was able to come from behind to defeat Reilly Opelka 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Opelka was looking like running away with the match when leading 4-2 in the second set, however the 37-year-old Swiss champion fought back to win his first match since the 2021 Australian Open.
“Physically I was feeling great. When you don’t win a match in more than a year, you start to think always about it more than what you should and not focus on the right things,” Wawrinka said after the match.
“I started to feel much better with my tennis by the end of the second set, and I’m really happy with this victory.”
Wawrinka will now play Laslo Dere in the next round.
Dominic Thiem continues to fight for form
The former World No.3 is still seeking his first win back on tour, from a number of wrist injuries, after falling to local favourite Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-6.
“I’m really frustrated right now, obviously. Well, things have improved again since Madrid. That’s good,” the former US Open winner said after the match.
“The forehand is still not there when things are getting tighter. That’s the way it is now, on to the next one.”
Despite the loss, many tennis fans agreed that Thiem was improving quickly on Tour and that his first win was not far off.
In other dramatic news at the Rome Masters, Denis Shapovalov fired up at the crowd and was docked a point in his victory.
The Canadian came through the bad tempered match 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3, in just under three hours and 11 minutes.
However, the 23-year-old faced the ire of home fans during a contentious match in which he swore at the crowd and argued vehemently with the umpire and match referee.
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