World No. 3 Dominic Thiem praised 124th-ranked Sumit Nagal following their US Open as he insisted he knew the Indian could be a dangerous opponent. Thiem, seeded at No. 2, saw off Nagal in straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-2 to reach the US Open third round.
"I think it was a good game in general from both of us. I was playing well today, I also have to say. I had a good plan for the match. He's very dangerous when he can dictate with his forehand. I was exactly trying to avoid that.
"He has also very, very fast legs. He's moving around very quick on the court. I was trying to play my fastest tennis to keep him on the backhand, to not let him dictate with the forehand. I did that very well today. "I think the only bad game he played was at 4-3 for me in the first set where he kind of came back into the match after he broke me, then he did some unforced errors.
Beside of that, I think it was a good match on a quite good level. I'm happy to be through in straight sets, yeah."
Thiem praises Marin Cilic
Next up for Thiem is world No. 38 Cilic, who defeated Slovak Norbert Gombos in four sets.
Cilic, a former world No. 3, has struggled with his form over the last year and a half but Thiem insists the Croatian can put up a great performance on any given day. "He's one of the big champions of the last decade, one of the very few players, active players, who won a Grand Slam tournament here in New York, of course, as everybody knows," Thiem said of Cilic.
"I mean, not from the players, but from outside perspective, he's underrated because he achieved almost everything what you can achieve as a tennis player: Grand Slam champion, Masters 1000 champion, played two other finals in a Grand Slam.
As I said, definitely one of the best players of the last decade, true champion. "Even though for sure he's not on the top of his game, beginning of this year, maybe also last year, he's always dangerous for a big and deep run in these big tournaments.
It's not a guy I want to face in the third round as he's a former champion. On a good day he can beat anybody. Going to be a real tough one."