Mon, 17 Feb 2020

Melbourne - World No 5 Dominic Thiem cruised into the Australian Open second round on Tuesday, with his confidence growing as he targets a Grand Slam breakthrough.

The Austrian brushed aside Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena and said he was determined to get as many wins as possible at a tournament where he has never gone past the fourth round.

"It is always really hard against Adrian, he is a very talented player so I'm very happy to be in the second round," said the 26-year-old, who won five titles last year and was runner-up at the ATP Finals.

"It's early in the season and I haven't played many matches but every win gives me confidence."

The writing was on the wall with Thiem heading into the showdown with a 7-0 record against the experienced left-hander, most recently at the Australian Open in 2018.

Thiem got an early break in the first set and never looked troubled, sealing the set after a 27-shot rally.

Mannarino put up more resistance in a competitive second set before Thiem reasserted his dominance in the third, breaking the Frenchman's first two service games.

He suffered some late nerves, sending down a double fault on match point before sealing the victory with a big ace to set up a next round clash with either Australian Alex Bolt or Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Thiem is among a clutch of players tipped to win a Grand Slam having reached the last two Roland Garros finals, losing twice to Rafael Nadal.

He has added 1995 French Open champion and former world number one Thomas Muster to his team as an advisor this season and is hoping his fellow Austrian will help him take the next step.

"He just started three weeks ago," he said of Muster. "It is an amazing addition to my team, he is the greatest player ever from our country.

"He has so much experience and he can help me a lot."

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