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Thiem into last 16, Zverev out of the Open

Dark horse Dominic Thiem is hungry for a deep run at Melbourne Park after cruising into the second week of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Adrian Mannarino.

The Austrian fifth seed showed no ill effects of his second-round, five-set scare against American qualifier Denis Kudla, backing up on Saturday with a 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory in two hours and eight minutes.

Winless against the two-time French Open semi-finalist in six previous meetings, Mannarino never looked like breaking his duck as Thiem broke his serve at will.

“Seven-nil – that’s right,” Thiem said.

“It’s been some very close matches. I’m very lucky that there’s still a zero.

“So I knew from the start that I’d have to play very well to beat him and I think I did it.”

The Austrian has endured a horror lead-in to the Open, battling a poor run of form to end last season and a viral infection at the Doha warm-up event.

Despite this, the young gun’s consistency at the majors has remained steady, with Saturday’s win taking his fourth-round grand slam streak to six.

But the 24-year-old is not content with stability and has big plans as he enters the second week at Melbourne Park.

“I’ve only gone twice further than the fourth round, so I’m a little bit tired of it,” Thiem said.

“I want to go further than the fourth round and I will give everything to do it for the first time here on Monday.”

One player Thiem won’t have to contend with is German whiz Alexander Zverev after the fourth seed suffered a third-round five-set defeat for the second year running.

Last year, it was Rafael Nadal who took him out.

This year, South Korea’s 2017 Next-Gen Finals champion Hyeon Chung wore down Zverev 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-3 6-0.

Thiem set up a last-16 match-up with Stan Wawrinka’s second-round hitman – Tennessee-born, tennis-loving Tennys Sandgren.

Rather than Zverev, Chung could face either Chung or the winner of Saturday night’s match between six-time champion Novak Djokovic and Albert Vinolas-Ramos in the quarter-finals.

Sandgren battled past unseeded German Maximilian Marterer 5-7 6-3 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

Italian Fabio Fognini ended French journeyman Julien Benneteau’s final Australian Open campaign with a 3-6 6-2 6-1 4-6 6-3 loss to fiery .

Fognini, returning to the Open’s fourth round for the first time in four years, will play either 10th-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro or veteran Czech Tomas Berdych next on Sunday.

In a battle on the non-seeds, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics’ dream Open continued with a 6-3 6-3 6-2 demolition of Argentine Nicolas Kicker.

The 25-year-old world No.80, who knocked off 13th-seeded American Sam Querrey earlier in the week, now faces a major step up in class, against either Swiss maestro Roger Federer or French star Richard Gasquet.

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