MELBOURNE. — Dominic Thiem was dragged into an engrossing five-set scrap by former ditch digger Alex Bolt on Thursday but disappointed a vocal partisan crowd by emerging a 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2 winner to reach the third round of the Australian Open.
The fifth seeded Austrian looked in control of the match deep into the second set before Australian wildcard Bolt, who ejected Gilles Simon at the same stage last year, suddenly stole in and took control.
In an unbranded T-shirt and creased canary yellow shorts, Bolt looked like he had wandered in from one of the South Australian worksites where he worked as a manual laborer before returning to tennis in 2016.
Roared on by the crowd, the left-handed world number 140 stalked Melbourne Arena hitting winners from everywhere, including one around the net post, and putting huge pressure on Thiem.
Seventh seed Alexander Zverev cruised into the third round with a dominant 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5 win over Belarusian battler Egor Gerasimov. – Reuters