After just 91 minutes, Ofner lost 3:6,1:6,4:6 in New York. He remained in the fifth duel with a top ten player without winning a set.
After Dominic Thiem gave up against Ben Shelton (USA) a few hours before because of stomach problems, Ofner also had to take a “medical break” and have his right shoulder treated. For the frequent player, who made it into the top 100 and then the top 60 this year, the US Open was his 24th tournament this year.
At his first appearance in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of around 23,000 fans and numerous celebrities, Ofner was quite impressed by the ambience. “The feeling was really cool. When I went in, it was really nice to see that there were really a lot of people watching,” said the Styrian, who also gave the usual short TV interview before the invasion must. “It would have been good if I could have kept it a little tighter,” Ofner said later, laughing.
He soon fell behind on the giant pitch. After a few unnecessary mistakes in the fourth game, he had to give up his serve for the first time, while last year’s semi-finalist in Flushing Meadows had no problems. This one break was enough for the 25-year-old to make it 6:3 after 32 minutes.
Shoulder problems “already in the first match”
In the second round Ofner really had no chance, he had to give up his service to 1:2, 1:4 and 1:6. Ofner had his right shoulder treated after two sets and Wolfgang Thiem’s protégé caught himself so far that he was able to keep set three open until 4: 4. But Tiafoe didn’t let the three-set victory be taken away.
By the way, the problem on his shoulder didn’t just appear on Wednesday. “I noticed it after the first match. It was really bad that evening and the day after that too,” admitted Ofner. “I woke up twice after the first match because I felt like my fingers were three times bigger.” That’s why he took painkillers before the duel with Tiafoe. “Of course it was a bit irritating, but as an athlete you have to live with it.”
Ofner does not expect a failure, and also for the Davis Cup against Portugal on September 15th/16th. in Schwechat he wants to be available. After that, he plans another intense hard court season. If his body can withstand it, he will probably have played 30 tournaments this year.