Austrian Dominic Thiem (5th world) will play his first Australian Open final on Sunday against current champion Novak Djokovic (2nd), after defeating German Alexander Zverev (7th) in the semifinals; 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) and 7-6 (7/4).
Thiem, 26, has already played two Grand Slam finals, at Roland Garros 2018 and 2019, losing both times to Rafael Nadal, whom he eliminated in the quarterfinals of the current edition of the Australian Open.
In a very balanced clash of 3 hours and 42 minutes, Thiem was able to come back after losing the first set. Zverev, brilliant in many stages, lacked the consistency to endure a five-set duel against a more experienced tennis player at heights like the Austrian.
– ‘An incredible game’ –
Four years older, Thiem was more solid and his tennis grew as the minutes passed. As it happened before Nadal, who won three tie breaks, he was calm and successful to sign up for the two decisive games that defined the duel.
«It was an incredible game, with two tie breaks, hard and very close. It was impossible to break his serve. To be in the final is incredible, a great start to the season for me, ”Thiem said in the post-match interview with American legend John McEnroe.
Considered the heir on clay to Nadal, Thiem shows with his journey in Melbourne that he is an all-rounder, the most advantageous of the players who knock on the door of the Top 3 (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic) who have dominated tennis for three decades .
«I played four hours against Rafa (in the quarterfinals), the most intense player on the circuit, it was hard and long. So it was not easy to recover. But once the adrenaline came back, when I was walking to the packed stadium, I was fine, although I had some problems in the first set, “added Thiem.
In fact, in that opening set, he began giving up his service, with both players nervous, but Zverev taking a slice and shining with the serve. The game was stopped by rain at 2-2 to unfold the roof of the Rod Laver Arena.
In the second sleeve Thiem began to recover sensations and equalized the duel. Then his balance and determination in the two tie breaks broke a match of many carats and he scored the victory.
“I have had many occasions, 14 break balls should be more than enough. In the important moments I have not played my best tennis, he has. This is how the game has been. But let’s face it, he plays incredible tennis right now, ”Zverev explained.
– Mladenovic and Babos in doubles –
Just before, Thiem’s ex-partner, the French Kristina Mladenovic, along with the Hungarian Timea Babos, won the Australian Open for the second time in doubles, beating the world number 1 duo, formed by the Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei and the Czech Barbora Strycova , 6-2 and 6-1.
Mladenovic and Babos have already reached the 2018 final and lost the 2019 final.
“Maybe some of you will hate me, but I love playing in Australia. It is the third trophy I have won and I am looking forward to coming back next year, ”said Mladenovic, referring to the Federation Cup final that his country won in Australia recently.
It was the third Grand Slam title for the Mladenovic-Babos duo, who also won Roland Garros last year.
On Saturday (08:30 GMT) the women’s individual tournament concludes with the final between the Spanish Garbiñe Muguruza (32nd WTA) and the American Sofia Kenin (14th).
Muguruza, 26, winner of Roland Garros in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, will face a 21-year-old tennis player who makes her debut in the final of a great. AFP