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Austrian Thiem outlasts Open qualifier

Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem has fought back from two sets in arrears to out-muscle American qualifier Denis Kudla in a draining five-set classic at the Australian Open.

The 24-year-old Thiem was staring down the barrel of a second-round boilover at the hands of the Kudla, ranked No.190 in the world, but found another gear to score a 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-3 win on Margaret Court Arena.

The world No.5, who battled a viral infection at the Doha lead-up event, lifted his intensity after falling behind, slapping 34 winners to 19 in the final three sets.

Despite spending three hours and 48 minutes on court as the mercury soared to 39 degrees Celsius, the young gun, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros the past two years, still wasn’t ready to cool down.

“I hate ice baths,” Thiem, who reached the third round for a third consecutive year, said after the close call.

“I completely hate them. I will go for a warn shower now because I always shower warm, then maybe my physio can say that I go in the ice bath.

“But I’m not really pumped for it.”

The young Austrian fired down 21 aces but credited his 25-year-old opponent, knocked out in qualifying at all four grand slams last year, with pushing him to the limit in scorching heat.

“Denis, he really played extraordinarily,” Thiem said.

“He was full of confidence and had won four matches already and then especially when he was one set up … it gives him a boost.

“It was a very tough thing to turn it around.”

In a battle of the old stagers, Czech 19th-seed Tomas Berdych had too much firepower for Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and posted a 6-3 2-6 6-2 6-3 victory.

American 13th seed Sam Querrey couldn’t progress to the Australian Open’s last 32 for a fifth time, with the 30-year-old upset 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-2 by 80th-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Fellow countryman Tim Smyczek fared no better, with 21st-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas dishing out a 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-2) shellacking in a tick over two hours.

Argentine Nicholas Kicker, the five-set slayer of Australian Jordan Thompson, pushed past Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-2 7-5 1-6 7-5.

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