Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem has sent World No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka crashing out in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
The 20-year-old spoilt the reigning Australian Open champion’s current run of scintillating form with an outstanding comeback victory on Tuesday night.
Thiem is pinching himself after his stunning performance upset the Swiss, who made the final in Madrid last year.
"I cannot really believe it," he admitted.
"I was in this famous ‘zone’ during the match. I was unbelievably concentrated. I think that's how you can play these very good matches, if you are 100 per cent concentrated and 100 per cent out on the court."
Wawrinka looked set to breeze into the third round after gliding through the first set, but the World No. 70 replied with some exceptional tennis to level before notching the biggest result of his short career 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Thiem, who has come through qualifying seven times this season, broke Wawrinka in the final game courtesy of a stay crosscourt backhand to earn his first-ever victory over a Top 10 player.
The Austrian dismissed assumptions that nerves were to blame for the one-sided opener and said getting used to the unfamiliarity of facing an elite player was the more probable cause of his shaky start.
"Of course I was a little bit nervous, but it wasn't the reason for the first set," Thiem said.
"His pace was just too high for me.
"I played a good game in the beginning of the second set to break him, and then I started to get more and more used to his pace and angles and his game, [which is] probably one of the best men's tennis has at the moment. Also, I played unbelievable the second and the third set."
Currently the youngest player inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP World Rankings, Thiem has also become the youngest to defeat a third-ranked opponent since Juan Martin del Potro downed Rafael Nadal at the 2009 US Open.
‘Dominator’ began the season ranked No. 139 in the world, but a series of impressive results have helped him crack the Top 100 for the first time in his career.
Thiem, who is searching for his first ATP title, reached the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam before losing to 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in a third and deciding set last February.
He also qualified to make his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut in Indian Wells where he suffered a third-round loss to Frenchman Julien Benneteau in March.
"This year I've played very good so far, played also very consistent," he said.
"I made seven out of eight qualies, and the quali matches, they help a lot.
“I get used to the level of the Top 100 guys, and I think I've already had 35 matches this year. That's the most important, to play almost every day against these top guys to increase your own level."
Wawrinka, who succumbed to only his fourth of 2014, lamented his inability to take control of the match after sealing the opening set with such conviction.
"I had some chance in the third set (and) I should have played better when I had some opportunity," said the Swiss.
"But I was hesitating with my game and he went for it and deserved it." Wawrinka’s round two exit means World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is now the only top-four seed remaining in the Madrid Open following the withdrawal of numerous stars earlier in the week.
Roger Federer pulled out after announcing on Tuesday evening that his wife Mirka had given birth to the couple’s second set of twins, Leo and Lenny.
Novak Djokovic also ruled himself out of the tournament due to a recurring arm injury.
Thiem will face the winner between Russian Mikhail Youzhny and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms