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By Alberto Amalfi | Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Steve Johnson made a big breakthrough in Tokyo.

Johnson toppled second-seeded Dominic Thiem, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in his Tokyo opener.

More: Nadal Saves Match Points in Beijing Opener

The two-hour, 19-minute triumph was Johnson’s first win over the seventh-ranked Austrian and his first Top 10 victory since he dispatched then world No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2016 Cincinnati Masters.


Today's last match. See you tomorrow! #rakutenjapanopen #atpworldtour #atp500 #tokyo

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Thiem denied 11 of 13 break-points, but could not find a solution for Johnson’s strong serving and vicious inside-out forehand in the decider.

Johnson banged out the lone break of the final set for a 3-2 lead and quickly consolidated.

In the eighth game, Thiem earned a break point, but the 46th-ranked American answered with a heavy serve to withstand the pressure.

Thiem dropped to 18-14 on hard courts this season.

Johnson, who raised his record to 3-20 vs. Top 20 opponents, will play either Shenzhen finalist Alexandr Dolgopolov or Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic made a successful return after a seven-week break following left wrist surgery.

Raonic rocketed 16 aces and denied the only break point he faced sweeping Viktor Troicki, 6-3, 6-4, in 71 minutes. Raonic raised his record to 6-1 vs. the Serbian, setting up a second-round meeting with Yuichi Sugita.

The 40th-ranked Japanese held a 6-4 lead when former finalist Benoit Paire retired.

Richard Gasquet whipped some wondrous one-handed backhands defusing Wimbledon semifinalist Sam Querrey, 6-4, 7-6 (2).

It was Gasquet’s third consecutive win over Querrey, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Saturday.

Gasquet advanced to a second-round meeting with Yen-Hsun Lu, a 6 -1, 6-3 victor over Japanese wild card Taro Daniel

Diego Schwartzman defeated Donald Young for the first time, 6-2, 7-5, setting up a second-round match with Bernard Tomic.


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