Thiem predicts a ‘great match’
Second seed Dominic Thiem delivered a sublime performance to dismantle Australian Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday and canter into the semi-finals of the US Open.
Thiem needed a little over two hours to record the win under the closed roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium despite being put under constant pressure by De Minaur, who is nicknamed ‘Demon’ and known for his never-say-die attitude and speedy court coverage.
De Minaur advanced to the net at every opportunity to disrupt Thiem’s baseline game and while the plan worked initially the 27-year-old Austrian adjusted and started finding winners past his advancing opponent.
De Minaur’s serve was vulnerable all night and Thiem, who amassed 43 winners, converted seven of his 13 breakpoint opportunities. De Minaur could take only two of the seven chances he had to break Thiem’s serve.
Thiem will meet Russian Daniil Medvedev for a place in his fourth Grand Slam final.
Medvedev powered into the semi-finals with a clinical 7-6(6), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over childhood friend Andrey Rublev.
The first Russian duo in the quarter finals of a Grand Slam since Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko at Roland Garros in 2007, Medvedev showed no fear during a ruthless display that sent him through to the last four without losing a set.
No player in the Open Era has won the US Open men’s title without dropping a set.
With Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal missing, and top seed Novak Djokovic having been disqualified for hitting a line judge with a ball, Medvedev showed why he is now the bookmakers' favourite to win in New York.
According to Thiem: “It’s going to be really, really difficult (vs Medvedev). But I’m looking forward to that one. I think it’s going to be a big stage, a great match even if it's without fans. It’s going to be a great semi-final.”
A loose and confident Victoria Azarenka overpowered Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-0 to advance to the semi-finals where she will face a familiar foe in Serena Williams.
Azarenka, smiling and bobbing her head along to music being played during changeovers, spread the court with 21 winners to dominate 16th seed Mertens in their first career meeting.
She took the first set after the normally rock solid Belgian sent a forehand wide for her 13th unforced error of the frame.
And the 31-year-old Belarusian did not take her foot off the gas in the second, running Mertens around the court and sealing the win when her opponent dumped a backhand into the net.
Azarenka, who won her first title in four years at the Western & Southern Open last month, said she is appreciating her time on the court more than ever.
“I don’t think I have ever enjoyed tennis, to be quite honest,” she said.
“I felt that it was a job and something you were meant to do. Winning, you enjoy it. Losing, I was so upset and for a couple of days I couldn’t function normally. Now nothing bothers me. I can say I am feeling the moment.”
The win saw the two-time Grand Slam champion advance past the quarter finals at a major for the first time since 2013.