Thiem takes down Gulbis, Federer cruises

It was a day of firsts for Dominic Thiem; his first five-setter, his first comeback from two sets down, and his first trip to the third round of a Grand Slam.

But it could have been so much better.

All of those aforementioned accomplishments came at the expense of Thiem’s best friend on tour, Ernests Gulbis. The 20-year-old Austrian overcame a hobbled Gulbis 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday in Flushing Meadows. Thiem withstood 20 aces off his opponent’s racket and came back from the brink of defeat after earning his very first break of the match at 5-4 in the third set.
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“It’s first time zero to two sets; first time (I’ve played) five sets,” Thiem said. “I would prefer it against everybody else, but not him. I would be happier if it would have happened against someone else.”

That’s because Thiem and Gulbis are constant practice partners and share coach Gunter Bresnik, who was in attendance but looking somewhat undercover sitting in the 10th row in the middle of a packed crowd.

Nobody–not Thiem, not Gulbis, and not Bresnik–liked the circumstances surrounding the outcome. Although Thiem played consistently solid, the result had a lot to do with the fact that Gulbis suffered physically from the end of the third set until the match’s conclusion.

“It wasn’t an injury,” Gulbis explained. “I started to have cramps. I thought that I pulled a muscle in the end of the third set, but I didn’t pull it. It was just really tight; all the hip area. So after that it was just a struggle. It was simply a struggle. I couldn’t play anymore. That’s it.”

“It’s tough,” Thiem added. “I hated the situation.”

Wearing his traditional all-black U.S. Open night outfit, Roger Federer rolled into the third round with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Sam Groth on Friday. Federer out-aced the big-serving Australian nine to eight while prevailing in one hour and 48 minutes. Groth led 4-2 in the third set, but the crowd favorite won four straight games to finish the job.

“There he should have like forgotten who he’s playing and all that stuff,” Federer said when asked about his opponent losing the third-set lead. “By then he’s in the match. I had my opportunities early on in the third, as well, so I was just hanging on. Maybe the pressure got to him a little bit just because of my opportunities I created.”
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3 Comments on Thiem takes down Gulbis, Federer cruises

  1. Black or dark navy for evening matches traditionally pretty much every year for Fed.

    Last year he broke from this tradition.

    Kohlschrieber for the win.

    #GodsCountry
    #NoleFam

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