Thiem Set For Monfils 'Show' In Fourth Round
Dominic Thiem matched his best showing at the Australian Open on Saturday, continuing his Grand Slam mastery against American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 to reach the fourth round for the third time.
Thiem saved six of seven break points against the 22-year-old American, who was trying to reach his first Round of 16 at a Grand Slam but must have felt like it was déjá vu against the World No. 5.
Three years ago, when they faced off for the first time at the 2017 US Open, Fritz converted only two of his 18 break chances and lost in four sets.
On Saturday afternoon, in warm conditions (28 degrees Celsius), Fritz again had his chances against the Austrian. But Thiem kept the 6'4” American on the move on the big points and avoided another five-setter. Thiem needed five sets in the second round against Aussie Alex Bolt.
“I also have to say, honestly, that I got pretty lucky in the three meetings against him. I remember at US Open and also today, I think especially in the second set, saved six... break points,” Thiem said. “Somehow in the meetings so far, the US Open and here, I pulled myself out of very close situations. In the Laver Cup, he turned the tables. He's serving great. You have to expect close matches against him. That was today again the case.
"Again, I pulled it out. For sure [it's] going to be different stories in some future matches.”
Thiem will play for a spot in his first Australian Open quarter-final against France's Gael Monfils, who beat Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-3. The Frenchman won 78 per cent (52/67) of his first-serve points and broke Gulbis five times.
“Even if you play against him on court, it's nice to see his show,” Thiem said of Monfils.
Thiem leads their ATP Head2Head series 5-0, which includes a straight-sets win at 2019 Roland Garros.
“It's always fun to play against him. Such a great athlete. Such a great sportsman. We had fun and great encounters in the past. I expect similar,” Thiem said. “[It's] going to be a nice atmosphere, as well. He's such a good shot-maker, always amazing rallies against him. He got back into Top 10 last year, playing great as well in the beginning of this year.
“I'm expecting a tough encounter. But second week of a Slam is special. Every opponent is playing outstanding tennis. It's going to be a really good and tough match.”