Tennis: Two-time finalist Thiem knocked out of French Open in 1st round by Andujar

Dominic Thiem eyes the ball as he returns it to Pablo Andujar during their men's singles first round tennis match in Paris on May 30, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Fourth seed Dominic Thiem blew a two-set lead to be dumped out of the French Open in the first round by Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar on Sunday (May 30).

The 35-year-old Andujar staged a remarkable comeback to defeat the two-time Roland Garros runner-up 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 after almost 41/2 hours on Court Philippe Chatrier.

It is the first time in his 17-year career that Andujar has come from two sets behind to win.

"It's a very special moment because I'm 35 and I don't know how long I'm going to play," said Andujar. "I had to believe to be able to get this result.

"It was very difficult, in the third set he wasn't quite as strong."

It is Thiem's first opening-round exit at Roland Garros and the first time he has failed to reach at least the quarter-finals of the tournament since 2015.

The Austrian lost both the 2018 and 2019 finals to 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, but did win his maiden Grand Slam title last year at the US Open.

His form had been patchy this season, though, having lost to Lorenzo Sonego in Rome and Cameron Norrie in Lyon over the past two weeks.

Andujar, the world number 68, had not beaten a top-10 player since 2015 until a win over Roger Federer in Geneva last week.

"Probably that win helped today," he said. "I didn't think I was in my best shape, but the belief was the key to the win today."

He will face either Argentina's Federico Delbonis or Moldovan Radu Albot in the second round.

It will be an especially bitter blow for Thiem, though, after the 27-year-old had been placed in the opposite half of the draw to Nadal, world number one Novak Djokovic and Federer.

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