Juan Martin Del Potro needed three sets to defeat an inspired Daniel Brands, taking 3 hours and 5 minutes for a 6-7 (5) 7-6 (4) 7-6 (6) victory. Brands was a semi finalist here last year and clearly enjoys playing in Vienna so it was much tougher than many had anticipated. The match was dominated with serving with zero breaks in the three sets and a massive 62 aces combined, Brands leading the count 32-30.
The first set saw early break opportunities for both players but very little on offer after that. After winning the first point against the Brands serve, Del Potro would drop four straight points in what was a fairly disappointing tie break. Brands was pegged back from 6-2 to 6-5 in the tie break but held his nerve to close it out on serve 7-5. Both players had 0-40 openings on their opponents serve in the second set, at key moments with Brands failing to convert at 4-4 and Del Potro failing to convert at 6-5 up, blowing four set points.
Much like the first set, Del Potro would give back an early mini-break but this time kicked on, eventually taking a 6-3 lead in the tie break. The first would be saved but not the second as Del Potro took the tie break 7-4. With added confidence, Del Potro would lose just seven points on serve in the regular part of the set. However, he still could not break his German opponent on either opportunity, including at 4-4 where Brands took on a dangerous drive volley at 30-40 to get to deuce. With neither player giving up on serve, it would be ended with a final set tie break. 12 straight points were won on serve before Del Potro finally made the break through. On match point, it looked like Brands had tied it back up with a huge forehand only for hawkeye to determine it was just out by a very small margin.
Gilles Muller saw off home favourite Jurgen Melzer in three as well, coming through in a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (4) victory. After breaking twice on his way to winning the first set, Muller would find nothing on the Melzer serve for much of the remaining two sets, not getting another break point. Melzer broke for a 3-1 lead and rode it until the end of the set to force a decider. There would be very little action for much of the set until Melzer had a break point opportunity at 4-4 which was soon wiped out. A tie break would be needed to determine the winner but Melzer would have an absolute nightmare as he dropped five of his six service points in a 7-4 tie break victory to exit the competition at the first hurdle.
It wasn’t all bad for the Austrian fans are youngster Dominic Thiem shocked Lukas Lacko 7-6 (3) 6-3. Thiem recovered from the disappointment of being broken for the first set to come through in the tie break with an accomplished performance. Donald Young pulled off another shock as he also won in straights, 7-6(8) 6-3. Young was 4-0 up in the firstbut would find himself down 5-6 and returning to stay in the set before coming through in two, breaking twice in the second set for victory.