Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem has been forced to retire after falling violently ill during his second-round match with American Ben Shelton.
Thiem, who won the championship in 2020, has been riddled with injury for the best part of two years and his horrible run of luck continued with this latest retirement.
The Austrian vomited prior to the match and was in discomfort throughout the first set before eventually pulling the pin when trailing 0-1 in the second set after losing the first in a tiebreaker.
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He was heard saying to the chair umpire, “I’m completely f*****. I feel so so s***.”
Thiem made it to the second round after defeating Alexander Bublik, which ended a run of six-straight first-round exits at grand slams.
The former world No.3 has battled wrist injuries and failed to reach the heights that saw him win the US Open in 2020 and make the final at the French Open (2018, 2019) and Australian Open (2022).
Dominic Thiem was forced to retire at the US Open. Credit: Getty Images
Elsewhere, seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas is the latest surprise casualty at the US Open, falling in the second round to Swiss qualifier Dominic Stricker 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.
Ending the four-hour match with a forehand winner that just caught the baseline, the 128th-ranked Stricker raised his hands and flopped on his back to celebrate his first-ever victory over a top-10 player in only his third grand slam appearance.
“I’m just super happy right now,” said Stricker, who took out Australian Alexei Popyrin in round one.
“I came out and felt good from the first set on … I just kept playing high-level tennis.”
Tsitsipas, a grand slam finalist at the Australian and French Opens, still has never advanced beyond the third round at Flushing Meadows.
The Greek is the second-highest seed to go down after No.4 Holger Rune of Denmark lost to 63rd-ranked Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.
Three-time winner Novak Djokovic rolled to a straight-sets victory to move on, fighting off not only Bernabe Zapata Miralles but the sticky weather on the hottest day at the tournament so far.
“That’s why we train several hours a day in humid, hot conditions so we can be ready for whatever awaits you on court,” the second-seeded Djokovic said after a 6-4 6-1 6-1 victory in Arthur Ashe Stadium over his 76th-ranked Spanish opponent.
“I still have the hunger … I still got it.”
The 36-year-old from Serbia who owns 23 grand slam titles is already assured of retaking the world No.1 spot when the rankings are updated following the tournament after winning his opening match.
He beat his next opponent, the 32nd seed Laslo Djere, in their only prior meeting in Belgrade last year.
“It’s great for Serbian tennis that we have a matchup in the third round,” said Djokovic.
– With AAP
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