Thiem survives excited Kyrgios in five-set thriller By Reuters

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By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Dominic Thiem produced a comeback for the ages to review a Nick Kyrgios in a five-set classic at the Australian Open on Friday, sending a crowd home in disappointment the last night before a match. five-day confinement in Melbourne. In the bear pit atmosphere of Kyrgios’ favorite John Cain Arena, the US Open champion Thiem crawled off the mat to secure a thrilling 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over the Australian showman and established a fourth-round clash with Grigor Dimitrov. “That first game against Nick here on his favorite court with an incredible crowd, there are easier things to do,” said the Austrian third seed, who sealed the victory with a majestic backhand winner down the line. “That is surely one of the most difficult challenges in our sport.” Tonight was epic and a good last game before closing, it‘s really sad to say. “A cluster of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne means there will be no more fans at the Australian Open for at least five days, but the home crowd got their money‘s worth, if not the desired winner. Thiem was shocked during the First two sets, he could barely get a glove on Kyrgios, who channeled the energy of the crowd to produce some electrifying tennis.HIGH TENSION While the tension in the stadium was relentless, it was also on a knife’s edge outside the arena. when police on horseback dispersed a crowd of several hundred anti-lockdown protesters about an hour after the match started. In the arena, Kyrgios took a two-set lead, sealing the second with a rogue ace in the armpit. However, from there on, Thiem faced grimly and stole the Australian’s momentum by serving as a machine. A frustrated Kyrgios smashed his racket against the court before he delivered the third set with a ‘tweener. ‘failed. Suddenly, the Australian’s back was against the wall when a resurgent Thiem began swinging his racket like a wand. In a moment of insanity, Kyrgios missed another tweener in lieu of a volley on an open court, squandering a chance for a 5-4 lead in the fourth set. Thiem made him pay three booming returns to break and on the change of ends a distraught Kyrgios fired a high ball into the stands to lose an automatic point for a second code of conduct violation. The match was level moments later as Kyrgios fired wide to concede the set and Thiem pushed on, capturing the decisive break at 3-3 in the fifth. “That’s ridiculous,” Kyrgios said, after seeing another Thiem winner pass him before the Austrian crouched down to serve the match. The Australian left Melbourne Park happy with his tournament, having played just last year due to the pandemic. “I am not disappointed at all,” Kyrgios said. “I am very proud of everything I have done in recent months to prepare.” And, you know, good luck to him (Thiem). I hope he does well, because he is a great player. ”