Tennis

Australian Open upset: World No. 98 Sandgren sinks fifth seed Thiem

Australian Open Upset No. 2: World No. 97 topples fifth seed Thiem

Unheralded American Tennys Sandgren upset Austria's fifth seed Dominic Thiem over five sets to advance to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open yesterday.

The 97th-ranked Sandgren won 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-9), 6-3 in just under four hours to continue his extraordinary run and will face Chung Hyeon in the last eight tomorrow, in what is a first Grand Slam quarter-final for both players.

Sandgren becomes just the second man in the last 20 years since Frenchman Nicolas Escude to make the last eight on his Australian Open debut.

Amazingly, the 26-year-old missed out on qualifying in the last four years to reach the main draw in Melbourne.

Sandgren beat former winner Stan Wawrinka in the second round and, this time, eliminated the world No.5.

"The first three matches were more than I expected. This one was about as hard-fought as I've ever had a match before," Sandgren said.

"My biggest match, as well, pretty neat. I definitely had a real pinch-me moment. Wow, this is hopefully real. If I wake up now, I'm going to be real upset!"

Sandgren said he had the advantage of being an unknown player in the field.

He said: "Maybe guys aren't sure what to expect and they don't know that I'm serving well and what spots I like, or how I'm going about playing the points. I'm using that to my advantage."

A tremendous backhand winner down the line from Thiem saved a match-point and then he went on to force a fifth set, but Sandgren finished strongly to take the match.

Sandgren, who hadn't won a match at a Grand Slam until this tournament after being beaten in the first round at last year's French and US Opens, hit 63 winners, 20 aces and made four service breaks.

Meanwhile, defending champion Roger Federer also reached the last eight yesterday, after defeating former training partner Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2. - AFP

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