Top seed Dominic Thiem survives scare to reach Sydney International quarterfinals
Top seed Dominic Thiem advanced to the quarter-finals of the Sydney International on Wednesday night, surviving a scare from Portuguese qualifier Gastao Elias.
World No.8 Thiem, who received a bye in the opening round, prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 5-7 in his first clash of the tournament.
"It was a very good match ... long rallies and really good points," Thiem said.
"He's a really tough and good player. It's very important for me to get a lot of matches in before the Australian Open ... I'm very happy."
Thiem mucked up a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 but steadied as light rain started to fall, breaking Elias' serve for a sixth time then sealing a hard-earned victory on the cusp of midnight.
Elias, who attacked at almost every opportunity throughout the pulsating 159-minute clash, bossed the Austrian around the court for much of the first set.
Elias, who is ranked 81st in the world and conquered Australian young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Rio Olympics, shot out to a 6-2 lead in the opening tiebreak.
Thiem saved three set points but had no answer to the ensuing ace down the middle, other than to optimistically challenge the umpire's decision.
But Thiem, who is considered one of the hottest prospects on the ATP tour, kept his composure and broke the underdog's serve twice to take the second set.
The 23-year-old, who reached the semi-finals of the 2016 French Open, was broken to love in a topsy-turvy deciding set.
Thiem will meet unseeded Brit Daniel Evans in the quarters on Thursday, with a final against two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki potentially on the cards.
Troicki, seeking to set an open-era record by becoming the first man to win three consecutive Sydney titles, eased into the quarters with a 6-3 6-4 win over Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi.
"I hope I continue the streak," the third seed said.
"I was told nobody won three in a row here, so that would be an amazing achievement.
"I'm definitely going for that. It's a big goal, it's not going to be easy."
Troicki's opponent in the quarter-final is fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Australia's hopes of a local winner in the main draw ended earlier on Wednesday, when youngsters Alex De Minaur, Matt Barton and Jordan Thompson all lost.