Roger Federer: Dominic Thiem makes ATP rankings admission as he bids to surpass Swiss star
Dominic Thiem insists he is not thinking about the possibility of achieving the highest ranking of his career. The Austrian is through to the quarter-finals of the Rio Open after beating 22-year-old Spaniard Jaume Munar.
Top seed Thiem dropped the first set to Lunar in a tiebreak after putting a backhand long.
But the Australian Open runner-up fought back to level the match by winning the second set 6-3.
And he sealed the three-set win with a trademark backhand passing shot.
It is the fourth time Thiem has reached the last eight in Rio and the 2017 champion now faces Italian Gianluca Mager.
The quarter-final will have an added incentive for Thiem as victory would move him above Roger Federer in the world rankings and into third position for the first time in his career.
And following Federer's announcement that he is out for four months after knee surgery, Thiem can cement his place as the next best behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
However, when asked about the ranking situation, Thiem said his focus was solely on winning.
"I only think of winning and playing good tennis, the ranking will be for later," he said.
"All that counts is the win. That's what I did today. I was fighting great from the first to the last point.
"That's what I'm proud of today and that's what I'm taking on [to the next round]. Tomorrow is a new day."
Elsewhere in Rio, Lorenzo Sonego caused an upset when he beat second seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 7-6 to reach the quarter-finals.
"I'm so happy," Sonego said. "I like playing here with these conditions. Today was a very tough match because I lost against Lajovic in Monte-Carlo.
"If he plays good with the forehand, it's amazing. Today I was more aggressive than Monte-Carlo. I served so good. I'm happy [with] this match."
Sonego's opponent will be fifth seed Croatian Borna Coric, who needed three sets to beat 19-year-old Thiago Seyboth Wild.
"It was extremely tough. I was a bit lucky there. He was a better player in the third set, but I think the experience that I have gave me the edge at the end," Coric said.
"It's going to be an interesting match [with Sonego]. I've never played him before, so I need to do some nice homework tonight with my coach to see how he's playing."
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