Tennis: Thiem battles back to defeat Fritz in third round

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ninth seed Dominic Thiem fought back to defeat American Taylor Fritz 3-6 6-3 7-6(5) 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Friday.

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Aug 31, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Dominic Thiem of Austria returns a shot against Taylor Fritz of the United States in a third round match on day five of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Austrian fired 18 aces and broke Fritz five times to set up a meeting with either 2017 U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson or Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov on Sunday.

“I’ve always lost in the fourth round so I think it’s time I get to the quarters,” Thiem said in an on-court interview after making it through to the last 16 for the fourth time.

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Aug 31, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Taylor Fritz of the United States hits to Dominic Thiem of Austria in a third round match on day five of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The French Open finalist had to battle his emotions as well as the 20-year-old Fritz on an overcast day at Flushing Meadows.

Trailing 2-0 in the third set, frustration boiled over for Thiem and he destroyed his racket on the hardcourt of the Grandstand.

“A lot of bad things were going through my mind as everyone could see,” an embarrassed Thiem said.

“I’m very sorry for that.”

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Slideshow (3 Images)

Thiem regrouped and took control of the match when Fritz sent a forehand long on set point in the third-set tiebreaker.

When Thiem was about to serve for the match at 5-3 up in the fourth set, rain halted proceedings for about 20 minutes.

Upon resumption, Thiem handed Fritz a lifeline as he produced three double faults to surrender his serve.

But the American’s hopes of forcing a fifth set were shortlived as Thiem broke back to seal the match when Fritz sent a backhand long on match point.

Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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