Second seed Dominic Thiem eased into the third round of the US Open on Friday with a straight-sets victory — but his mood was soured despite winning on his birthday.
The Austrian celebrated turning 27 by defeating India’s Sumit Nagal 6-3 6-3 6-2 inside an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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However, Thiem lost his cool with officials when, in need of a little pick-me-up, he asked for a can of Red Bull to be brought out during a change of ends.
The request was initially denied because US Open organisers didn’t want the Red Bull label to be visible — as the energy drink company is not a sponsor of the grand slam.
Instead, they wanted to pour the drink into a cup off the court and bring it to Thiem in an unmarked vessel. But Thiem was furious, suggesting a simple way around that.
“Give me a plain cup, I’ll somehow cover it and then I’ll put it in,” Thiem complained. “You guys are crazy about anti-doping and then you want to carry the Red Bull can out and you guys fill it in a plain cup.
“What the heck is this? Bring me a plain cup please and I’ll fill it in.”
Thiem eventually got his wish. An official brought out a can of Red Bull then tried to cover it with a towel as the right-hander poured it into a plain cup.
Thiem addressed the incident after his straight sets win, saying he understood the Red Bull can couldn’t be seen on court. He described the situation as a “little bit awkward” and defended himself for wanting to see first-hand what was being poured into his cup.
“They wanted to go out with the open can and fill it in a plain cup without me observing it. That’s what p***ed me off a little bit because the anti-doping rules are so strict,” Thiem said in his post-match press conference.
“I don’t want to lose the can out of my sight.
“In general, they are so strict rules these days, and they propose me to fill the can in a plain cup without me observing it.
“That p***ed me off a little bit.”
Thiem will play 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in round three.
AUSSIE’S OPEN HEARTBREAK
Australian John Millman suffered an agonising five-set defeat to American Frances Tiafoe as his US Open came to an early end.
The world No. 43 rebounded after dropping the first set to claim the next two, but faltered late in a match that lasted nearly four hours.
Tiafoe moved into the third round at his home grand slam for the first time with his 7-6 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory.
Aussie Alex de Minaur joyed better luck, defeating 2013 US Open semi-finalist Richard Gasquet in four sets after countryman Jordan Thompson also won through to round three by disposing of Egor Gerasimov yesterday.
Elsewhere, Andy Murray crashed out of the second round in straight sets to 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The former world No. 1 was demolished by the 20-year-old Canadian 6-2 6-3 6-4 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium in just over two hours.
Murray, playing in his first singles Grand Slam since the 2019 Australian Open, had rallied to win a thrilling five-set match against Japan’s 49th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka the first round earlier this week.
But the Scotsman, who is trying to rebuild his career after an injury-ravaged three years, was unable to repeat the heroics against the big-serving 21st-ranked Auger-Aliassime, who dominated from start to finish.
The Canadian smashed 24 aces and 52 winners in a one-sided affair. Murray mustered just two aces and nine winners.
Felix Auger-Aliassime amassed 97 winning points compared to Murray’s 68.
Manwhile, Vasek Pospisil knocked fellow Canadian Milos Raonic out of the major with a four-set win in their second-round clash while Andrey Rublev advanced to the third round with a 6-2 6-4 7-7 win over Frenchman Gregoire Barrere.
Fourteenth seed Grigor Dimitrov tumbled out in the second round stage as the Bulgarian, who has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the world in his career, fell to 66th-ranked Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in five sets.
Fucsovics downed Dimitrov, a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows last year, 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 6-1 in four hours and 50 minutes.
Dimitrov became the second-highest men’s seed to exit the tournament after Chile’s Cristian Garin, seeded 13th, lost in five sets on Thursday.