Competing in Dubai for the first time in six years, world no. 4 Dominic Thiem is still without a victory at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Austrian suffered an unexpected 6-3, 6-4 loss to a qualifier Lloyd Harris in an hour and 12 minutes, experiencing the fourth defeat in this year’s nine encounters. Thiem had 18 winners and 18 unforced errors, while Harris counted to 23 winners and eight unforced mistakes, dropping only 11 points in ten service games and never facing a break point. Dominic won one point on the first serve return and couldn’t match those numbers, suffering one break in each set to hit the exit door.
Lloyd played an incredible rally in game four and grabbed a break thanks to a backhand crosscourt winner. The South African confirmed the advantage with a service winner and held at 15 with an ace at 5-3 to take the opener in just over 30 minutes. Both players served well in the second set’s first six games to lock the result at 3-3 before Thiem wasted three game points and got broken when his backhand landed long. Harris held at love in game eight and fired three winners in game ten for his career-best victory. The 2nd seed Andrey Rublev scored the 21st consecutive ATP 500 win, beating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 16 minutes.
Dominic Thiem is now 0-2 in Dubai.
The Russian played on a high level and hit 26 winners and six unforced errors, backed by only nine points lost on serve and no break chances given to the Finn. Emil hit a double fault in the first game to experience a break and an early setback, with no opportunities to pull it back by the end of the set. Producing one good hold after another, Andrey held with a service winner at 5-4 to complete the opener, hoping for more of the same in set number two. Ruusuvuori stayed in touch in the first six games before Rublev converted the fourth break chances at 3-3 to gain the crucial advantage. Emil saved a match point in game nine with a service winner before Andrey held at love a few minutes later to seal the deal and reach the last 16.