The fourth round of the US Open clash between second seed Dominic Theme and 15th seed Felix Agar-Aliasim received a lot of hype before they stepped on the court. After the theme found its footsteps on Monday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the second seed quenched the hopes of a classic battle.
Stepping on the court to beat the groundstroke winners and picking the right moments to complete the points on the net, the theme ended Agger-Aliasim’s Grand Slam progress 7-6 (4), 6-1 with 12 runs in the last 14 games. 6-1 win. The Austrian reached his second quarterfinal in New York and improved 18-6 on the show.
“I was really scared before the match. I knew I was going to play against an amazing opponent,” Theme told the court after the match. “The second and third sets on this overseas tour are 100 percent the best sets so far. I’m starting to find the mix, offense and defense I have in Australia and giving a lot of revenue in the game. I will. Try to bring that form with me to the next round.”
– ATP Tour (ptatptour) September 7, 2020
The theme tournament kicked off after the shocking opening round defeat last week at the Western & Southern Open. Although his form was unclear in his first three rounds, the 27-year-old improved with each match and produced a tennis level against Agar-Aliasim, which put him in the top 3 in the FedEx ATP rankings.
Standing between Theme and his best US Open result, 21st seed Alex de Minour defeated Vasek Pospisil to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Theme leads their ATP Head 2 Head Series 2-0 and beat Aussies in the first round of the 2017 US Open.
“I’m probably one of the oldest players on the field, which is a bit surreal for me,” Theme said. “He’s like Felix, the absolute superstar [and] Coming up. It doesn’t matter if the Big Three is here or not. Everyone wants their hands on the trophy. “
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In the early stages of the match Theme and Agar-Aliasim worked very hard for form. The Austrian took a 2-2 lead in the opening set, but played a nervous game working for the set 5-4 and returned with a pair of baseline errors. He regrouped at the tie-break and earned a mini-break at 2/1 with the down-the-line backhand winner, having that slight advantage to get into the opening lead.
Ager-aliasim entered the second week by using those weapons for one or two punches in rallies and threatening opponents with his serve and forehand. While the theme’s foot speed prevented him from doing so, the 20-year-old lacked consistency in his powerful ground strokes to win extended baseline rallies. He tried to move forward in an attempt to reduce the points, but struggled with his volleys and won just eight of the 22 net points.
As the form of the theme improved with each game, Agar-aliasim continued to leak compelling errors and scored 51 runs a day. The backhand winner took the fifth break of the theme and finished the game two hours and six minutes later.