Thiem Cruises, Schwartzman Storms Into Third Round Down Under
The reigning US Open champion barely put a foot out of place in his one-hour and 39 minute clash on Margaret Court Arena against the German, who sits at No. 70 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He fired 34 winners and kept his error count in check at 21 across three dominant sets.
“In general, it was a super good match,” said Thiem. “First of all, he was on fire at the beginning. The conditions were, I think, the hottest day since we [arrived] in Australia, so I had to get used to that. [I] had to overcome some complicated situations. I think I saved two break points in the sixth game, then I broke him after [a] long game for [a] 4-3 [lead]. After that I played more freely, especially after the first set, [when] kind of everything started to work.”
Thiem also praised the Australian government and Tennis Australia for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and organising the summer series tournaments in Melbourne.
“I think it's a good example for the world," said Thiem. "We're in Australia, where the coronavirus situation is very good, because they did a good job. They are an island. It's not so easy to get here. They were shutting down [and] they brought it under control. That's why we are able to play here. That's why we're also able to play in front of fans, which is unbelievable nice for us… as well for the fans. I think it's sending out a nice message on TV.”
Also in action, the eighth-seeded Diego Schwartzman beat French lucky loser Alexandre Muller 6-2, 6-0, 6-3 in one hour and 32 minutes to reach the third round. It is the third time in his past eight Slam matches that the Argentine has lost six games or fewer.
Schwartzman made just 13 unforced errors and broke Muller's serve nine times to advance to the third round at Melbourne Park for the fourth consecutive year. The 28-year-old is flying higher than ever after competing in the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time last year.
Schwartzman will next face Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev, who beat Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 6-0, 6-1, 6-0. In January, Karatsev qualified for this event, successfully navigating Grand Slam qualifying for the first time in 10 attempts.
The 27-year-old, who was a member of the Russian team that won the ATP Cup, broke out in the second half of last season. Following the ATP Tour's resumption after a five-month suspension, Karatsev went 18-2 on the ATP Challenger Tour the rest of the year.