The Star (Kenya)

Block­buster awaits

Thiem pre­dicts ‘great’ duel against Medvedev de­spite miss­ing fans

- Sports · Tennis · New York City · US Open · United States of America · Dominic Thiem · Daniil Medvedev · Arthur Ashe · Novak Djokovic · Rafael Nadal · Roger Federer · U.S. Open

NEW YORK / With five matches down at the US Open, Do­minic Thiem still finds it dif­fi­cult to main­tain in­ten­sity in the ab­sence of fans but even with­out them the sec­ond seed ex­pects his next out­ing against last year’s fi­nal­ist Daniil Medvedev to be a block­buster.

Thiem took down Aus­tralian Alex de Min­aur 6-1 6-2 6-4 in Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal match on the Arthur Ashe Sta­dium, which would in pre­vi­ous years be bustling with a crowd of close to 24,000. But no fans are al­lowed at this year’s Grand Slam due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s not easy men­tally to keep all the time the 100% en­ergy,” Thiem told re­porters on video con­fer­ence. “Ev­ery­thing else I (have) got used to.

“But there are some sit­u­a­tions in ev­ery match ba­si­cally where it would be nice to have the crowd just to keep the en­ergy up, just to cel­e­brate great points, that it doesn’t feel that bad if you (are) go­ing through a tough pe­riod.

“That was not easy to get used to. But it’s an unique sit­u­a­tion. Now I’m in the semis, it was my fifth match today so I got used to it. (But) there’s still sit­u­a­tions where it’s dif­fi­cult or where the en­ergy of the crowd would help.”

In the ab­sence of top seed No­vak Djokovic, who lost by de­fault in the fourth round, and Rafa Nadal and Roger Fed­erer - who opted out of this year’s tour­na­ment - the men’s draw will have its first new Grand Slam cham­pion in six years on Sun­day.thiem had three chances to be­come a ma­jor cham­pion while Medvedev had a two-set lead over Nadal be­fore he lost in last year’s U.S. Open fi­nal, which ac­cord­ing to Thiem was one of the “bet­ter Slam fi­nals ever”.

“I would say that he comes very close to the big three play­ers in terms that he can play his top level, for doesn’t mat­ter how long,” said Thiem, who lost two French Open fi­nals to Nadal and this year’s Aus­tralian Open ti­tle clash to Djokovic.

“That’s go­ing to be re­ally, re­ally dif­fi­cult. But I’m look­ing for­ward to that one. I think it’s go­ing to be a big stage, even if it’s with­out fans. It’s go­ing to be a great semi-fi­nal.”

 ?? / REUTERS ?? Do­minic Thiem of Aus­tria hits a fore­hand against Alex de Min­aur of Aus­tralia
/ REUTERS Do­minic Thiem of Aus­tria hits a fore­hand against Alex de Min­aur of Aus­tralia

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