Former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem registered his first victory of 2023 at the Argentina Open on Tuesday, February 14. The Austrian tennis player, who currently stands just inside the world’s top 100, at World No. 99, beat World No. 52 Alex Molcan in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Thiem has now won 12 of the 13 matches contested at the Argentina Open throughout his career, having been a champion at the tournament twice (2016 and 2018).

Speaking about what clicks for him at the South American clay event, Dominic Thiem stated that he finds the ball, surface, and stadium conditions favorable for his game.

“I felt well here from the first moment I played here in 2016. I think that conditions here – the balls and the clay court and the stadium – it fits well to my game,” he said, answering the post-match press questions after his opening round win.

The Austrian, who famously outlasted the then-defending champion Rafael Nadal en route to the 2016 title, also credited his two trophy wins at the Argentina Open for increasing his confidence.

“Obviously, when I won two titles here, the confidence is automatically a bit higher. But still, I came in here with no match wins this season against a very good opponent, so it’s a good win for me and I am happy,” he said.

Dominic Thiem kicked off his 2023 season by representing his home country at the United Cup. Unfortunately, the 2020 US Open champion, who is on a comeback path, failed to score a single win in the tournament, losing both his encounters to Croatians Borna Coric and Borna Gojo in straight sets.

Prior to his participation at the Argentina Open, Thiem also participated in the Australian Open, where he was the runner-up in 2020. The 29-year-old was, however, unable to produce the same magic, and given a tough draw, the Austrian lost his opening encounter to World No. 5 Andrey Rublev in straight sets.

Despite the initial losses, Dominic Thiem is optimistic about the 2023 season. Answering a press question, Dominic Thiem stated that he is definitely a different player now than when he first participated in the tournament in 2016, prior to his deep runs at Grand Slams. And, while he acknowledged his previous accomplishments, he stated that he is more focused on the new season and is aiming to get back to his best form.

“I try to focus on the present moment, which is the most important. And, obviously, I had great moments in my career to be proud of, but now, in this moment, I am in 2023, and I want to get the best out of it,” he remarked.

Dominic Thiem sets up a clash with Juan Pablo Varillas in the second round of Argentina Open

Through to the round of 16, wildcard entrant Dominic Thiem is now set to face off against Peru’s Juan Pablo Varillas. The duo have clashed once before in their careers in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Gstaad Open, where Dominic Thiem prevailed in straight sets.

Speaking about the upcoming match-up, the Austrian said that he was looking forward to what he believes would be a “good challenge” against the World No. 101.

“We had a good match in Gstaad. Obviously, different conditions – there it’s altitude, here it’s sea level,” he observed, “It’s gonna be a good challenge for both of us I guess. And I am looking forward to the match and try to focus same way like today.”