Dominic Thiem earned his way into a maiden Australian Open final after beating Alexander Zverev on Friday (January 31) at Rod Laver Arena.
As Thiem revels in the limelight of becoming the first Austrian to reach a Melbourne finale showdown, he awaits to face the reigning champion, Novak Djokovic, on Sunday (February 2).
Continuing an incredible week with some great performances, Thiem brushed aside Zverev 3-6 6-4 7-6(3) 7-6(4).
“It was an unreal match. Again, two tiebreaks. So tough and so close. It was almost impossible to break him, he had such a high percentage on his first serve but Australian Open final is absolutely unreal and what a start to the season so far,” Thiem said describing his unexpected victory.
Seeded seventh, Zverev faced his good friend after stunning world number one Rafael Nadal in the last eight.
“It’s not easy, I was playing four hours 10 against Rafa who is is the most intense guy on tour, almost every rally was so intense and long. I was in bed at around 5 yesterday so it was not easy to recover but once all the adrenaline came it was a great match,” he added.
Thiem and Zverev played each other nine times including this semi-final, with the Austrian holding a 6-2 advantage, including their last two encounters. They have never been forced into a five-setter.
Thiem is better known as a clay-court specialist and has experience of the big time, making the French Open final over the past two years, beaten each time by Nadal.
But this is the furthest he has got on hard courts at the Majors and knows he is on the cusp of a crack at shattering the stranglehold Djokovic has had on the tournament, taken all the 7 titles off his previous appearances.
With the men’s Grand Slams completely dominated for years by the ‘Big Three’ – Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer, Thiem will eye to become the first man born in the 1990s to win a major title.