Title favourite Dominic Thiem ruthlessly ended Alex de Minaur’s US Open campaign with a crushing straight-sets quarter-final win in New York. Thiem needed a tick over two hours to send Australia’s last hope packing with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory that further underlined the 27-year-old’s championship credentials.
Runner-up to Novak Djokovic in a controversial five-set Australian Open final in January, world No 3 Thiem is the highest-ranked player left in the draw. He next faces Russian third seed and 2019 finalist Daniil Medvedev on Saturday for a place in the final for the first time at Flushing Meadows.
De Minaur will be disappointed with his maiden grand slam last-eight showing but must quickly pick up the pieces and turn his attention to the second major of the year, the rescheduled French Open starting on 27 September. The 21-year-old will be Australia’s best hope on the Roland Garros clay after women’s world No 1 Ashleigh Barty this week opted against defending her crown during the coronavirus pandemic.
De Minaur is projected to rise one spot in the rankings to world No 27 after bettering his career-best grand slam run by one round in New York.
He had hoped to go toe-to-toe with Thiem – and at times he did – but the baseline slugger and dual French Open finalist was too solid. De Minaur was competitive early on, the pair trading three service breaks in the opening four games. But he blew a golden opportunity to stay in the first set after allowing Thiem to hold from love-40 and surge ahead 4-1.
A third break secured Thiem the set before concerning cracks appeared in De Minaur’s armour. At 2-2 at 40-0 up in the second set, he dropped serve with two double-faults, then coughed up another double to slump behind 5-2. No way out of that hole, De Minaur conceded six successive games as Thiem seized total command.
The never-say-die Australian No 1 made one last stand, breaking Thiem for a third time to level the third set at 4-4. But the world No 3 struck back with a seventh service break of his own to comfortably progress to his sixth grand slam semi-final.
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