US Open: Dominic Thiem fights past Marin Cilic
Photo: Matthew Stockman

The marquee match on the men's side pitted second seed Dominic Thiem against 31st seed Marin Cilic with the Austrian holding off the former US Open champion 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in their third round encounter to close out play on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

After dominating the first two sets, which saw Thiem break four times and hit 18 winners to four unforced errors, Cilic struck back, breaking midway through the third set to reduce the deficit, but the Austrian rebounded and fought off the Croat in the fourth set to advance to the Round of 16.

Thiem got off to the best possible start, breaking Cilic in the opening game of the match when the Croat hit a forehand into the net. He was nearly up a double break in the fifth game, the 31st seed hanging on to stay behind by a single break at 3-2. His luck would run out soon after as another forehand error gave the second seed a 4-2 advantage.

Thiem was sharp through most of the match/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Thiem was sharp through the first two sets/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Two games later, Thiem closed out an impressive opening set with a love hold and he continued that momentum as he broke to begin the second set, Cilic continuing to leak errors. The rout seemed to be well and truly on as the Austrian struck a backhand at the feet of the 31st seed, who could only net his volley to give Thiem a 3-0, double break lead.

Cilic settled down and began to improve, but it was too late to make a difference in this set as Thiem swept through his service games and a backhand error from the 2014 champion put the Australian Open finalist in a commanding two-set lead.

Great champions don't go away quietly and as Cilic began to hold easier, he began to apply a little more pressure on the Thiem serve in the third set and he found himself ahead 4-2 as the Austrian missed a backhand to give the 2014 titlist new life. 

Now in the ascendancy, the Croat was at deuce leading 5-2, but could get no further and serving for the set, Cilic fought off two break points and an imperious forehand gave him the third set to cut the deficit to two sets to one.

Cilic fought hard, but his comeback ultimately fell short/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Cilic fought hard, but his comeback ultimately fell short/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Thiem was battling to stay in front and after coming through a tough game to open up the fourth set, he saved three break points in the fifth game to hang on to a 3-2 lead. A wild forehand by Cilic gave the Austrian a break point and he converted when the Croat dumped a backhand into the net.

Serving for the match with a 5-3 lead, the second seed stared down a 15-40 deficit, but he watched as a series of unforced errors off of Cilic's racquet rescued the deficit and gave him a tough four-set victory that sees him into the fourth round.