Federer won the first set 6-3 and mounted a furious comeback in the second set to force a tie-break. After Thiem saved a match point serving at 5/6, Federer had the match on his racquet at 7/6.
“At 7/6 in the tie-break, I’ve got an 80 per cent chance of winning the point on my first serve and a 50 per cent chance on my second serve, so things were all good for me at that point,” the Swiss noted. Thiem regained the momentum after Federer missed a volley, and went on to close out the match with a break of serve in the deciding set.
“It was a tough match for both of us,” Federer said. “I could have played better at some of the bigger moments. At the same time, Thiem came up with some really good shots when he needed them. It’s just unfortunate. It’s just a matter of working hard and maybe things will go my way next time.”
Federer also underlined the importance of additional match practice. He was making a return to play after missing Roland Garros due to a back injury. It was the Swiss’ second layoff of the year after undergoing knee surgery in January.
“Things went surprisingly well this week. Conditions were very fast, so that’s why you saw a lot of tie-breaks, lots of close matches,” Federer said. “I probably didn’t serve my very best and I need to cut down on some mistakes in my game, but that comes down to not playing a lot.
“I want to be in a position to talk more about my matches, rather than the way that I am training coming back from injury. I’m happy that it is in the past, and I am looking forward to the second half of the season.”
Federer is slated to take part in the Gerry Weber Open, which begins on Monday. He is an eight-time champion at the event and will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round.