Thiem survives Bolt in five; Zverev and Medvedev sail into third round

andrew hendrie:

Dominic Thiem overcame a spirited challenge from Australian wildcard Alex Bolt to prevail in five sets and make the third round at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

Down two-sets-to-one and struggling to contain the explosive Bolt, Thiem reeled off 12 of the last 15 games to emerge triumphant by a 6-2 5-7 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2 scoreline and secure his spot in the Australian Open third round.

One of the best players in deciding sets after going 15-3 when matches went the distance in 2019, Thiem regrouped brilliantly and took advantage of a fatigued Bolt, who was coming off a five-set win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round.

Thiem wiped away past demons from Melbourne Arena after losing to Tennys Sandgren and Alexei Popyrin in his previous matches on the court.

The fifth seed awaits the winner of fellow two-time Grand Slam runner-up Kevin Anderson or young gun Taylor Fritz.

Daniil Medvedev (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © Jason Heidrich/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Elsewhere, Thiem’s fellow top 10 seeds Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev had a smoother time of things, with both advancing into the third round in straight sets.

Medvedev dispatched Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez 7-5 6-1 6-3, battling through the opening set as the pair traded breaks before swiftly asserting his authority and closing out the match in routine fashion.

Martinez had won nine straight sets across four matches after coming through qualifying, but the Spaniard faced a step up in class and simply couldn’t sustain the level required to hang with the fourth seed.

Medvedev, seeded fourth at a slam for the first time in Melbourne, takes on rising star Alexei Popyrin in the third round after the Australian reached that stage of his home slam for the second straight year with a comfortable win over Jaume Lunar.

Meanwhile, Zverev is yet to drop a set in progressing to the third round after the German toppled Egor Gerasimov 7-6(5) 6-4 7-5, backing up his straight sets victory over former French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato. The seventh seed awaits the winner of Fernando Verdasco and Nikoloz Basilashvili.