Third seed Dominic Thiem became the biggest casualty of the Australian Open so far with a meek defeat by Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.
Thiem battled back from two sets down to beat Nick Kyrgios on Friday and it appeared that effort had taken it out of the Austrian, who led Novak Djokovic by two sets to one in the final in Melbourne last year before winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.
This match could not have been more different to Friday’s clash, which was played in a raucous atmosphere, and the empty stadium matched Thiem’s demeanour as he slumped to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 loss.
Dominic Thiem is out of the Australian Open after losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 to Grigor Dimitrov
The Austrian looked to be out of fight after his dramatic victory over Nick Kyrgios two days ago
Thiem reached the final of the Australian Open last year but has suffered an early exit in 2021
Thiem cited ‘some little physical issues’ but said: ‘I don’t want to find any excuses. But the thing 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 100 per cent there on the court on this level, then results like this come up, and that’s exactly what happened today.’
Dimitrov certainly played his part, staying extremely solid and taking full advantage of his opponent’s struggles and he has eased through to a fourth quarter-final in Melbourne.
Dimitrov was consistent and solid throughout to wear down his opponent in Melbourne
The Bulgarian will face the tournament’s surprise hot-shot debutant Aslan Karatsev next
The 29-year-old said: ‘The way that I came through, and especially in that first set, also being able to stay really focused and really dedicated to the game that I wanted to apply, it was something that I think I did very well today.
‘Clearly maybe he was struggling a little bit in the third set or not, but I think I did all the necessary to keep a steady play.’
There, the Bulgarian will play this week’s surprise package, qualifier Aslan Karatsev, who continued his remarkable run with a 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over 20th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.