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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday February 13, 2021

After his five-set win over Nick Kyrgios on Day 5 it looked and felt like Dominic Thiem was well on his way to making a run at another Grand Slam title. A finalist last year in Melbourne, perhaps Thiem, who is the 2020 US Open champion, would be the player that would stand to benefit the most from the injury woes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in week two.

Tennis Express

But it wasn’t meant to be. The Thiem dream was slayed today by Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday in Melbourne, as the Bulgarian stunned the Austrian in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.

A combination of elevated play from Dimitrov, particularly his ability to make Thiem play by blanketing the court and staying within himself, and an uncharacteristically flat performance from Thiem, added up to an eye-opening result and a great opportunity for the Bulgarian, who will face Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev—the World No.114—in the quarterfinals.

"I don't want to find any excuses," Thiem said. "But the thing also is that I'm also not a machine. I mean, sometimes I would like to be, but there are really, really bad days. As soon as you're not a hundred percent there on the court on this level, then results like this come up, and that's exactly what happened today."

Earlier on Day 7 Karatsev, making his Grand Slam debut at this year's Australian Open, toppled Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets to become the first ATP player to reach the quarterfinals on his Grand Slam debut in 25 years. Karatsev, 27, notched a 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 over the Canadian.

Dimitrov improved to 4-2 lifetime over World No.3 Thiem and he has now defeated the Austrian in three consecutive matches. It was difficult to tell if Thiem was suffering some kind of physical ailment, and even Dimitrov didn’t seem to know the answer to that question as he asked Thiem if he was okay when they shook hands after the match.

Dimitrov needed just two hours and one minute to finish his upset victory, and he won just six of the 30 points that were played in the third set.

The Austrian had his chances in sets one and two. He led by 3-1 in the opener and had seven games points to stretch the lead to 4-1.

He led in the second set by the same score and was serving at 3-1, 40-30 before surrendering another break. In total he was broken seven times on 15 opportunities.

Dimitrov hit 25 winners against 18 unforced; Thiem his 25 winners against 41 unforced.


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