Novak Djokovic has continued his domination on Rod Laver Arena. Since he won his first Australian Open title in 2008 each time he has reached the final he has walked off as champion.
This time Djokovic faced Dominic Thiem. The Austrian searching for his first Grand Slam title at his third attempt, Djokovic aiming for his eighth at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic came out firing. He broke the fifth seed in the second game for a 2-0 lead and then consolidated the break for 3-0. Thiem held for 3-1. Another hold for the Serbian second seed and it was 4-1.
Thiem who had defeated world no. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals then started firing and he was able to break Djokovic in the seventh game to get back on serve. Thiem would then hold to level the score at 4-4.
Djokovic held easily before applying the pressure to Thiem as he jumped out to 0-30. Thiem would get to 30-30 before his third unforced error game Djokovic a set point. He was able to save that and go to game point before back-to-back unforced errors gave Djokovic a set point, this time he converted.
In the second set it was Thiem that had the early 3-1 lead and as in the first set the person in the lead would be pegged back to see the scores at 4-4.
Just when you thought Djokovic was getting on top he stumbled and Thiem levelled the match at a set all.
Djokovic was looking a bit off. He would stumble a bit at times and wasn’t sure footed. He was given warnings for taking too much time on serve and he also had the doctor provide treatment. The second time violation saw him lose a first serve and this rattled the Serb.
The defending champion pretty much gave away the third set as Thiem claimed it 6-2 to got to a two sets to one advantage.
In the fourth set Djokovic was looking his old self. His serve had improved and he was relentless from the back of the court.
Djokovic got a key break in the eighth game of the fourth set, helped by a Thiem double fault.
As the match moved into a fifth set the question was about the fatigue factor for Thiem. He had spent a lot more time on court to reach the final.
Thiem for a short period seemed to be feeling the effects of another five setter, he wasn’t pounding the ball with the same impact as earlier in the match. Just when you thought he was gone the Austrian stepped it up a level and was competing hard.
In the third game Djokovic made his move. Thiem hit four unforced errors to concede the game. Thiem looked to break back immediately however Djokovic fought off two break points to maintain his one break advantage.
That was the last break point opportunity that Thiem would see. Djokovic held on to claim his eighth Australian Open title and he also secured the no. 1 rank in men’s tennis.
“I would like to start by saying congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament,” said Djokovic, during the on-court ceremony. “It wasn’t meant to be tonight. Tough luck and it was a tough match, but you were very close to winning it and you definitely have a lot more time in your career and I’m sure that you will get one of the Grand Slam trophies. More than one.”
Thiem served 13 Aces to 9, double faults were 5-5. The 1st serve percentage was almost even with Djokovic serving at 64% and Thiem at 63%.
Both players won five from 12 break points. The winners were 55 for Thiem and 46 for Djokovic. Unforced errors were 57 for both players.