In a game like no other, as the sun set and lockdown fast approached, the duel of the tournament came in the epic clash between Australian Nick Kyrgios and World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, with Thiem taking the win 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-4.
Both players came back from a days rest following the cancellation of Nick Kyrgios’ doubles match last night. Fully charged, both players entered the arena in full swing.
Expert returns by Kyrgios saw him gain an unexpected early break point against the Austrian, putting him in an early lead for a first-set takedown.
Clearly hyped up by the crowd, a mix of showboating shots and aces saw him maintain his lead and stay one game ahead of his opponent. Thiem did well to force deuces on multiple games against Kyrgios, but couldn’t manage to break the Australian.
Nick Kyrgios’ father sat in the crowd styling an ‘NK Foundation’ hat, which was a charity set up by Kyrgios to provide sport facilities to underprivileged & disadvantaged youths.
Thiem started the second set without a slip up, yet Kyrgios still managed to push the Austrian to three deuces in the third game.
A cheeky underarm serve saw Kyrgios start to liven the crowd back up and gain a little more confidence. This was quickly diminished by the Austrian, however, who went on to hit another ace in his next service game.
The two expertly went game for game, with strong armed serves coming from both players. Just before his final service game, a moment of magic came from the Australian, with Kyrgios managing to claim a break point against Thiem, who sat down simply wondering what just happened.
Kyrgios proceeded to put the nail in the coffin in his final service game, hitting an ace and an unbroken game to clean up the second set 6-4.
It looked as though even Kyrgios couldn’t believe what was happening as he sat bewildered in his corner after expertly conquering two vital break point games against the Austrian.
In the third set, Kyrgios appeared distracted by someone in the crowd yelling during the rally. This, mixed with a few missed style shots, costed him a service game and gave Thiem an early lead.
Kyrgios was unable to regain his focus with Thiem pulling off an impressive first serve percentage. The two played game for game, with Thiem taking the set 6-3.
Kyrgios proceeded to get a bit heated with the referee and fans in the fourth set. Suffering from a lack of concentration, the Australian struggled to regain his footing and use his powerful serve effectively. After five deuces in the opening game, Kyrgios managed to hold on and face the music on an even court for the following games.
A little ‘high knees’ celebration for the Greek-Australian saw a small boost in confidence. Kyrgios had a few opportunities to put a bit of extra pressure against the Austrian, but the World No. 3 didn’t give out easy.
A deuce in Kyrgios’ service game saw him unable to hit back against Thiem’s strong return serves. Thiem managed to secure the break point, only requiring his final service game to bring the match to a fifth set.
Despite Kyrgios bringing Thiem to a deuce in the Austrian’s service game, he was unable to finish the job, giving Thiem the set 6-4.
Down to the final set, tensions ran high for both players as they faced tournament elimination. Kyrgios expertly came back to defeat Humbet only two days ago, yet facing the 3rd best ranked player in the world, he was required to bring all the tricks out of his bag.
Heading inside after his set loss, Kyrgios came out firing on all cylinders. Unable to describe, Kyrgios’ ‘mojo’ returned.
Battling hard to break Thiem, Kyrgios could only manage to go game for game. The first break in the set, however, came for Thiem, who after two deuces managed to deflect and capitalise on Kyrgios’ predictable returns.
Despite a nerve-racking final service game, Thiem managed to claim the game, set and match 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-4.
Dominic Thiem will face 18th seed Grigor Dimitrov in fourth round of the Australian Open.