Aussie teen sends World No.8 into racquet-smashing retirement

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Australia’s 19-year-old wildcard Alexei Popyrin got off to a dream start to his second round match against Dominic Thiem, frustrating the seventh seed into a fiery first set outburst.

The young Aussie went into the clash at Melbourne Park as a big underdog against one of the favourites in the men’s draw but walked away an unlikely winner.

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Buoyed by the crowd inside Melbourne Arena, Popyrin was playing like a man inspired in a stunning first set.

The Aussie’s game was clearly getting to Thiem and the Austrian’s frustrations began to simmer over towards the end of the first set.

Thiem could be heard swearing and berating himself, clearly irked at the fact his game was slightly off and his opponent was capitalising superbly.

Popyrin frustrated Thiem into several angry racquet smashes. Pic: Getty
Popyrin frustrated Thiem into several angry racquet smashes. Pic: Getty

The seventh seed had already been warned for belting his racquet into the turf in the eleventh game of the set.

However, his fury stepped up a notch moments later when he sent a return long to give Popyrin a crucial 6-5 lead.

This time Thiem smashed his racquet multiple times on the ground, earning himself a code violation and the wrath of fans on social media.

Popyrin took advantage of his rival’s frame of mind, attacking the net to break Thiem and take the opening set 7-5.

Thiem’s mood wouldn’t have improved after serving to draw level at 5-5 in the second and seeing the Aussie grab a crucial break and set point.

The Austrian fired a backhand slice long which he unsuccessfully challenged as Popyrin took a shock two-sets-to-love lead.

Thiem was visibly uncomfortable throughout the match and stunned the crowd early in the third set when he retired at 2-0 down, gifting Popyrin a passage into the third round.

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