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March 1, 2021

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Dominic Thiem reacts to limp Australian Open exit to Grigor Dimitrov

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Thiem crashed out (Picture: Getty Images)

Dominic Thiem became the highest-ranked casualty of the Australian Open so far as he slumped to a straight sets defeat to Grigor Dimitrov.

Thiem, the world No. 3 from Austria, was unusually flat and lost eight games in a row to finish the match.

Dimitrov, the 18th seed from Bulgaria, fed last year’s runner-up Thiem a bagel to book his spot in the quarter-finals, where he will face surprise package Aslan Karatsev.

He took full advantage of a lacklustre Thiem, who admitted he was struggling with ‘little physical issues’ after the match.

‘I think a combination of some things, some little physical issues, plus a real bad day, plus the fact that, well, he’s a great player,’ said the US Open champion, who had beaten Nick Kyrgios in five sets in the previous round.

‘So a combination of those three things, and a result like that can happen.’

Asked about the physical problems he was facing, the Austrian replied: ‘Some little physical issues. I don’t want to go closer to them. I don’t want to find any excuses.

Dimitrov advanced to the quarter-finals (Picture: AFP via Getty)

‘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.’

Dimitrov suspected Thiem, 27, had been struggling with a problem

‘Throughout the season you just have one of those matches where you keep the ball rolling and today was one of those days,’ Dimitrov said in his post-match interview.

‘I was trying to entirely focus on what I was doing and the gameplan I had. I think he might have actually struggled with something, I don’t know, but I also want to give myself credit for staying focused and composed throughout the three sets.

‘He’s an unbelievable player, great friend off the court. I’m very happy to be in the quarter-finals.’

Dimitrov, 29, is now targeting a fourth Grand Slam semi-final but faces a tricky encounter with Karatsev.

The Russian qualifier, playing in his first main draw, has been in incredible form and showed remarkable resolve to recover from two sets down to beat 20th seed Felix Auger Aliassime.

Karatsev secured a fine win (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘I didn’t feel my game from the beginning,’ said world No. 114 Karatsev. ‘It was tough to really serve, and he also broke me down from the beginning, so already I was down in the set, and I just found the rhythm in the third set.

‘I said, Okay, I would keep playing and go a bit far to the return and make him play more balls, and yeah, I think that was the right strategy.’

Having come through qualifying, Karatsev will now climb to around world No. 63.

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