Australian Open: Wildcard Alex Bolt gives top No.5 seed a scare_1


No one could argue that the Australian wildcards have not provided stunning entertainment at this year's Open, with Alex Bolt the latest to give the top seeds a scare.

The world No.282 took Dominic Thiem led by two sets to one before the No.5 seed steadied to win 6-2 5-7 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-2.

In a match lasting three hours and 22 minutes, the South Australian left-hander was overpowered in the final two sets, but won more fans with his gutsy effort.
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Thiem was beaten at the same stage of last year's Open by another Australian wildcard in Alexei Popyrin.

Popyrin was the big winner on day four, setting up a clash with fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev after overpowering Spain's Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 6-2.
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The pair have similar styles as well as Russian lineage, Popyrin still rising up the ranks at No.96 in the world but with a big serve and forehand and impressive movement for his height.

Medvedev breezed into the third round with a straight-sets win over qualifier Pedro Martinez.

One of the title fancies at Melbourne Park, Medvedev overpowered the Spaniard 7-5 6-1 6-3 in two hours and nine minutes.

Alexander Zverev also had a convincing second round, marching into the last 32 without dropping a set following his 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5 victory over Egor Gerasimov.

Yet to reach the quarter-finals of a hardcourt or grasscourt major despite climbing to as high as No.3 in the world and winning the 2018 season-ending championship, Zverev arrived in Melbourne low on confidence and down on form.

He lost all three of his matches at the ATP Cup to Alex de Minaur, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov as Germany bombed out in the pool stages.

But the 22-year-old appears to be finding his groove on Melbourne Park's faster surface, Zverev needing little more than two hours to see off Gerasimov.

"Definitely much better than the ATP Cup. Now into the third round, I'm very happy about that," Zverev said, revealing he practised "six, seven hours a day" last week in a bid to iron out the chinks.

"To find my serve, my groundstrokes, whatever hasn't been working at the ATP Cup."

Earlier on Thursday, Australian duo Ajla Tomaljanovic and Priscilla Hon bowed out in the second round of the women's singles.

Tomaljanovic went down 6-3 3-6 6-3 to two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza from Spain, and Hon was outclassed 6-3 6-2 by another former world No.1, Angelique Kerber from Germany.

More to come

-with AAP