Thiem time at Melbourne Park as third seed eases through

Nick Mulvenney
·2-min read

By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem kept his time in the Melbourne sun to an absolute minimum on Wednesday, taking 93 minutes to beat Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-0 6-2 and secure his place in the third round of the Australian Open.

Thiem lost to Novak Djokovic in the Melbourne Park final last year and would have been hoping to conserve energy in the early rounds this week as he looks to dethrone the Serbian and clinch his second Grand Slam crown.

The Austrian third seed had to tough it out at times in the opening set -- saving two break points -- but took full control after that as his German opponent appeared to struggle in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius on Margaret Court Arena.

"In general, I'm happy because I beat a very good opponent in three sets," said Thiem.

"I think (it was) the hottest day since we were in Australia, so I had to get used to that. Had to overcome some complicated situations. After the first set, everything started to work. I found a super good timing."

There has been much discussion around Melbourne Park about the speed of the courts and Thiem said he had preferred conditions last season.

"I prefer last year's courts, if I could choose," said the baseliner.

"It's pretty fast, as I said a few days ago. It's probably one of the fastest Grand Slam tournaments I've played so far. We have to get used to it."

The 27-year-old booked a third-round date with the winner of the later contest between Nick Kyrgios and Ugo Humbert when Koepfer went wide with a forehand for his 38th unforced error.

The German lefthander said it was not so much the conditions that left him struggling to catch his breath between points.

"It's tough to hang with this guy, running left and right, just wasting energy," said Koepfer.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)