MELBOURNE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Dominic Thiem was dragged into an engrossing five-set scrap by former ditch digger Alex Bolt on Thursday but emerged 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 was facing back-to-back exits at the hands of Australian wildcards in the second round of the year’s first Grand Slam when Bolt won the third-set tiebreak with a thumping ace to go 2-1 up.
Roared on by a partisan crowd, lefthander Bolt stalked the Melbourne Arena court hitting winners from everywhere, including one around the net post, and putting huge pressure on the twice Roland Garros finalist.
Thiem kept his composure as his 140th-ranked opponent tired, however, and showed his class in the final two sets to book a date with Kevin Anderson or Taylor Fritz in the third round. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)