Dominic Thiem won a shaky first set then dominated the 20-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-4 to reach his second US Open quarterfinal.
The second-seeded Austrian served for the opening set before escaping in a breaker. Then took it up a notch pounding winners from the baseline against the talented Canadian who was appearing in his first Grand Slam fourth round.
“I was really nervous before the match. I knew that I was going to play against an amazing opponent,” Thiem told ESPN. “The second and third sets were 100 per cent the best sets so far in this overseas trip. I’m starting to find that mixture that I had in Australia, offence and defence, and putting a lot of returns in play. I’ll try to bring that form with me to the next round.”
Despite the loss, Auger-Aliassime took positives from the event.
“The first three matches were good, were interesting,” he said. “I think I take positive from the first three matches.
“I felt like my energy was fine, but just, you know, you play those top 5 players and it reaches another level. Thiem is a player who has been through these tournaments, and he’s made the finals. He’s gone far in these tournaments. I just feel like he was doing everything just better than me today.”
Thiem will now face Australian Alex De Minaur who reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal dismissing Auger-Aliassime’s countryman Vasek Pospisil 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-2. Pospisil and his big serve led by 6-2 in the opening set tiebreak but the 30-year-old couldn’t win another point. And after nine sets of tennis in his last two matches, that was it.
“I’m obviously very happy,” the 21-year-old De Minaur said. “At the end of the day, this is where I want to be, and this is where I truly believe I belong, second weeks of slams and going deep. I’m happy I’m finally at this stage.”
Thiem has won both previous meeting with De Minaur including a first round US Open win in 2017.
In the evening, the Russians took over.
Andrey Rublev got revenge on Berrettini for a loss a year ago in this round. After dropping the opening set, Rublev turned the tables on the big Italian for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win.
Berrettini entered the match having not lost serve in 45 service games, but Rublev busted him four times and was aided by 44 Berrettini unforced errors.
“Today he started really well,” assessed Rublev. “He was aggressive. He was the one who was dictating in the first set. Then when I lost the first set, I just say to myself to keep fighting. If he’s better today, he’s better today. Keep fighting for every ball.
“In end I had little chance. I broke him somehow. I turn it all the way around. I start to play better. Matteo start to feel I think little bit tight. Yeah, like normal match.”
On Ashe, 2019 finalist Daniil Medvedev embarrassed Frances Tiafoe in the evening 6-4, 6-1, 6-0.
”I was lucky enough to get the early break, relax a little bit and then I started playing amazing tennis after that,” Medvedev said on court after the match. “I’m playing better with every match and I hope this can continue. I’m pleased with the fact that I’ve won all of these sets and didn’t have to stay long on the court. That’s always good when you’re playing a Grand Slam.”
Tomorrow, Borna Coric takes a 3-1 head-to-head edge into his match against Alexander Zverev. In the evening Pablo Carreno Busta looks to return to the US Open semifinals against Canadian lefty Denis Shapovalov who is appearing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
“He’s beaten me every time on hard courts,” Shapovalov said of the Spaniard. “It’s definitely going to be an extremely tough, tough challenge.
“Obviously he’s kind of like David [Goffin]: very solid, very stable from the back. It’s going to be a similar matchup for me. Yeah, I think it’s pretty much the same thing: I have to play my game but remain steady as possible.”
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