World number nine Dominic Thiem reached the last eight at the US Open for the first time in his career on Sunday, with the Austrian knocking out 2017 runner-up Kevin Anderson in straight sets in the fourth round.
Despite a run to the French Open final, 2018 has generally been below-par for Thiem, who has generally struggled when playing off his preferred clay courts. He was certainly the underdog today against the fifth seed Anderson, who has reached two Grand Slam finals in the past 12 months.
Anderson also comfortably led the head to head between the two, having lost just once in seven meetings between the two, though did not look at his best today. Perhaps fatigued from a five-set third round match against Denis Shapovalov, the South African was fairly unconvincing on serve, being broken three times.
In contrast, Thiem did not face a single break point, and struck just 13 unforced errors to an astonishing 42 winners in two hours and 37 minutes of the play. The ninth seed prevailed 7-5, 6-2, 7-6(2) to reach the last eight of a slam outside of the French Open for the first time.
Thiem impresses in convincing victory over 2017 finalist
The opening stages were very tight, with very little between both men. Anderson came through tight service games at 1-1 and 3-3, though there were no break points until the latter stages of the set. After coming through a tight service game of his own at 4-5, Thiem applied the pressure and broke the South African on his fourth break point, and the Austrian proceeded to serve out the first set convincingly.
Thiem had looked fairly untroubled in the opener, and continued to impress early on in the second set as he broke in the opening game, consolidating for a 2-0 lead. Anderson then saved a point for a double break and began to make things tight on the ninth seed’s serve, though crucially could not create any break point chances. This proved costly, as Thiem was able to break the fifth seed again at 5-2, and successfully served for a two set lead.
After an eight minute break following the second set, Anderson looked more composed early in the third as he settled his way back in, aiming to comeback. However, the South African was again unable to challenge Thiem, who looked supreme on serve today. Anderson saved a break point at 3-3 and was able to force a tiebreak, though the Austrian stormed away with the final five points to reach the last eight for the first time.