But as he did in the final of the US Open 2020, the Austrian star fought back for the win in a five-set crush.
A provocative Thiem finally closed a 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory to advance to the round of 16, in which he will face world number 21 Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
Thiem gave a raw glimpse of his emotions during an on-field interview with Jim Courier after the game.
“First of all, that first game against Nick on his favorite pitch with an amazing crowd – there are easier things to do,” Thiem told Courier on the cover of Nine.
“So that’s definitely one of the toughest challenges we have in our sports. You never know what’s coming and he’s a huge player when he’s on fire like today.
“I was already facing defeat, but somehow I fought in the game and the impossible is nothing.”
Thiem said he was inspired by recovering two sets to zero in last year’s US Open triumph.
His first Grand Slam victory saw him conquer German Alexander Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in September of last year.
“This game has shown me that giving up is never an option,” Thiem said.
“There is always a chance.
“Today I was so close to losing. If he broke me in the first game of the third set, that game is over. But I was still fighting and with the break I got in the third set, I realized there might be a chance to turn. around. “