Dominic Thiem smashes racket in fury at poor Australian Open display before retiring ill while two sets down to qualifier Alexei Popyrin

Dominic Thiem became the third top-10 player to go out of the men’s tournament, the seventh seed retiring while trailing young Australian wild card Alexei Popyrin by two sets to love.

Popyrin, 19, won his first grand slam match in the opening round and was leading 7-5 6-4 2-0 when Thiem, who appeared to be feeling unwell, pulled the plug.

Thiem had become frustrated by his performance throughout the encounter, where he squandered no less that eight break points. 

The Austrian smashed his racket against the ground during the first set and was jeered by the crowd. 

The racket duly became a priceless memento for one lucky young spectator.

‘It’s never easy winning like this, Dom played a tough first round,’ Popyrin said. ‘But I just want to thank everybody that came out and supported me today.

‘When I won the second set was when that thought really kicked in and that I could actually win the match.

‘There are no nerves for me coming into the matches. I’m just really looking forward to playing in the next round and seeing who I play.’

Popyrin will play the winner of Lucas Pouille’s match against Maximillian Marterer.

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