Dominic Thiem defeated by Tennys Sandgren in five-set marathon
Tennys Sandgren v Dominic Thiem 6-2 4-6 7-6(7) 6-7(9) 6-3

Dominic Thiem defeated by Tennys Sandgren in five-set marathon

22/01/2018

Dominic Thiem lost 2-6 6-4 6-7(4-7) 7-6(9-7) 3-6 to America's Tennys Sandgren as he failed to qualify for the Australian Open quarter-finals in Melbourne.

The 97th-ranked Tennessee native captured the decisive break against the Austrian in the sixth game of the final set and sealed the match in style with a thumping forehand winner from the baseline at a raucous Hisense Arena.

The 26-year-old threw down his racket and raised his arms aloft as the terraces roared in disbelief at the American's astonishing achievement.

Sandgren became only the second man in the last 20 years to reach the quarter-finals on debut at Melbourne Park. Sandgren will face either 14th seed Novak Djokovic or Chung Hyeon for a place in the semi-finals.

The world number 97 had failed to win a match in his two previous main draw appearances at grand slams or even string together more than two wins at Tour-level before Melbourne Park.

But the 26-year-old's triumph at a heaving Hisense Arena made him only the second debutant to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals in 20 years.

He came within an inch of victory during the frenetic fourth set tiebreak, but Thiem saved the match point with a blistering backhand down the line.

Unbowed, Sandgren pounced in the sixth game of the final set to grab a break point when Thiem missed a string of first serves and held firm until the Austrian came forward to bash a forehand into the net.

Sandgren served magnificently to march to the brink of victory and sealed the match in style with a thumping forehand winner from the baseline.

The American threw down his racket and raised his arms aloft as the terraces roared in disbelief.

"I knew I had to take my chances," he said on-court.

"I knew I had to come out, play aggressively and take my chances and serve well."

Sandgren will face either 14th seed Novak Djokovic or South Korea's young gun Chung Hyeon for a place in the semi-finals.

His run to the last eight has left a string of higher-ranked casualties in his wake, including triple grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka, but it also took a toll on his South Africa-born mother watching the broadcast at home in Tennessee.

She fell against a pool table and hurt herself in the excitement of supporting him during an earlier match at Melbourne Park and has been laid up in bed since.

"She ended up going to the hospital," Sandgren told ESPN.

"Turns out it was a cracked rib and she's been resting, glad she's on the mend."

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