Early Present: Thiem Reaches Maiden Quarter-final In New York
One day shy of his 25th birthday, Dominic Thiem rewarded himself with an early gift on Sunday at the US Open. The ninth-seeded Austrian, appearing in the Round of 16 for the third time in four visits, hit 41 winners compared to 13 unforced errors to eliminate 2017 finalist Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6(2) on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Having lost his opening six FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against the South African, Thiem has now won both his clashes against Anderson this year. The World No. 9 also defeated Anderson en route to his second straight Mutua Madrid Open final in May.
Thiem had never reached a Grand Slam quarter-final away from Roland Garros prior to beating Anderson in three sets. The Austrian was appearing in his sixth Grand Slam fourth round outside of Paris, having also reached the Round of 16 at the Australian Open (0-2) and Wimbledon (0-1).
Thiem will meet World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in a repeat of this year’s Roland Garros final, or Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, for a semi-final spot. Thiem trails Nadal 3-7 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and lost his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter against Basilashvili last year in Sofia.
Following 10 consecutive service holds, Thiem stepped up his aggression on his forehand side to great effect at 5-5. The 24-year-old hit his targets, pushing Anderson back in the court before finding the lines to seal the first break.
After serving out the set to 30, Thiem continued to ride the momentum in the second set. The 10-time tour-level titlist won eight of the opening nine points to take a 2-0 lead before doubling his advantage with a second dominant return game to move 5-2 ahead.
Faced with the prospect of a third five-set match in four rounds, Anderson continued to fight throughout the third set. The South African saved the only break point of the set, at 3-3, en route to a crucial tie-break.
From there, Thiem, once again, controlled rallies on his forehand side. The Austrian hit with precision and power to take a 6/2 lead and converted his first match point with a delicate, chipped backhand to outfox Anderson at the net.
Two-time Grand Slam finalist Anderson was bidding to reach his third US Open quarter-final in four years at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The World No. 5, who drops to 22-9 in Flushing Meadows, also reached the last eight in 2015 before his run to the final last year (l. to Nadal).