Dominic Thiem came out on top in an explosive and hugely entertaining third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open which went to five thrilling sets.
Kyrgios roared out of the blocks with a break of serve in the opening game to immediately put the third seed under immense pressure in front of a typically boisterous crowd on John Cain Arena.
The 24-year-old went for his shots in characteristic fashion with enormous groundstrokes and bravado to match as Thiem was peppered with underarm serves, trick shots and unpredictable antics.
The mercurial Australian delighted the Melbourne fans from the outset with a stunning array of gung-ho shots and pantomime reactions, with the 2020 US Open champion left totally stunned in a first set that always felt set to go against him.
At one point, the unseeded Australian followed a successful underarm serve with a fake that was blasted away for a winner by Thiem; then soon after left the crowd in raptures as he not only won the second set in style, but with an underarm ace.
Kyrgios struggled to sustain his level as the Austrian roared back in the third and fourth sets. While Thiem belatedly discovered his rhythm and feel in the match, the 25-year-old began to wilt, no doubt affected by the fact that he played another five-setter in the previous round.
The fiery Australian struggled to contain his frustrations in a dramatic final set as tensions mounted, while the noticeably fresher Thiem managed to keep his composure and close out victory under enormous pressure.
Kyrgios was given a huge ovation from the Melbourne fans as he departed the tournament having given absolutely everything and produced an inspired effort despite missing a year of action in the sport.