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Sandgren Splashes Into AO Fourth Round

The last American man standing in Melbourne is staging an American Tennys revival.

Australian Open debutant Tennys Sandgren continued his inspired AO run rallying past Maximilian Marterer, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (5) into his first career Grand Slam round of 16.

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After a week of American deflation, Sandgren delivered career elation.

"That sounds like a joke," Sandgren told ESPN's Patrick McEnroe. "Honestly, [fourth round] sounds like a joke. Wow, that’s pretty cool.

"Just appreciative of a lot of matches, a lot of tennis a lot of people keeping me in the right direction, the right path. I’m nothing without them. I’m really grateful."

The 26-year-old Sandgren arrived in Melbourne with just two career Tour-level victories to his credit and has already exceeded that total this week after stopping Jeremy Chardy in round one before sweeping a hobbled ninth-seeded Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

After dropping the first set today, an admittedly tight Sandgren conceded his thoughts of making a splash helped inspire his stand.

"After the first set, I thought if I walk off this court without fully engaging I would have to jump in the river," Sandgren said. "I thought about those [past] matches... I guess I’ve just grown a little bit since then. I was able to keep my head."

The 97th-ranked Sandgren will try to continue his run vs. fifth-ranked Dominic Thiem in the fourth round.

"He’s a beast, man," Sandgren said of Thiem. "He’s a beast. He’s a heck of a player. I don’t know if you can game plane against him. It will be a battle. It will be fun. I’m just looking forward to it."

Photo credit: @AustralianOpen