Austria’s Dominic Thiem was pleased to beat Nick Kyrgios in difficult circumstances to reach the last 16 of the Australian Open.
Kyrgios was back to something close to his mercurial best in the match but Thiem mounted a comeback to win 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 in Melbourne, surviving the pressure of the Australian serving underarm aces and the home crowd supporting their man.
Thiem acknowledged the victory was no easy feat, saying: "Playing against Nick in this court, his favourite court, is one of the toughest things we have to do. He is a huge player when he is on fire.
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"I was dealing with the loss but then fighting myself. Giving up is not an option. When I got the break in the third set I realised there was a chance to turn it around and the longer the match got the more comfortable I felt.
"I went far back from his serves as you can't read them.
"I always prefer playing in front of a crowd, even if they are not for me and obviously they are for the local hero and there's nothing wrong with that - I have to accept it.”
There was late drama off the court, too. Due to Melbourne’s imminent five-day lockdown, fans were asked to leave the arena before the conclusion of the day’s play, and Thiem opined that playing against a hostile Australian home crowd was still better than having no spectators at all.
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"But I prefer it that way more than playing in front of an empty stadium,” he said.
“The next match will be empty and everyone is sad about that but this was a good last match before lockdown."
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