Novak Djokovic beats Dominic Thiem to win the eighth Australian Open title
MELBOURNE Novak Djokovic fought in a five set thriller with Dominic Thiem to keep your domain in the Australian Open Sunday, claiming an eighth record title and returning to world number one in the process.
The untamed Serbian extended his unbeaten streak this season to 13, but he had to recover from two sets to one to beat the brave Austrian fifth fifth seeded 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a marathon of almost four hours.
It was his 17th Grand Slam title, moving him to two of Rafael Nadal and three of Roger Federer in the list of all time.
Definitely my favorite court, my favorite stadium in the world and I have the blessing of having this trophy once again, Djokovic said.
The victory put him next to his legends as the third man in history to win eight or more titles in the same Slam after Nadal (12 in the French Open) and Federer (eight in Wimbledon).
The king has returned 👑 After almost four hours, @DjokerNole def. Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 to claim his e… https://t.co/ef6E41lDdi - #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1580647636000
He also said he will be number one in the world when the new rankings are published on Monday, usurping Nadal. Federer continues third with Thiem raising a place to a fourth place in his career.
But it was not easy with the Serb looking lethargic and out of combat in sets two and three before recovering his mojo after a medical waiting time to defeat the talented Thiem.
Djokovic had never won a Slam final in seven previous attempts when he met two sets in one.
Gr8⃣ness 🏆 2008 🏆 2011 🏆 2012 🏆 2013 🏆 2015 🏆 2016 🏆 2019 🏆 2020 #AusOpen | # AO2020 | @DjokerNole https://t.co/g0j8o3gZA7 - #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1580647825000
You and two other boys (Nadal and Federer) took men's tennis to another level. I am happy to be able to compete in these times, Thiem said.
Today I fell short but I hope to compete with you again.
The Serbian, 32, was the overwhelming favorite, but Thiem, 26, always fit and fast, always had the weapons to annoy him, which he successfully deployed for much of the game, tameing his service and unleashing some blows from explosive background
Untitled-8 (AP Photo)
It was a start without nerves on the part of Djokovic, who held comfortably and then exerted great pressure on the Austrian's service, with a right-blow on the net that gave him an immediate rest and a psychological advantage after some monster demonstrations.
Thiem, however, is as strong mentally as physically and finally reached the scoreboard after another hard game of service.
And against the run of the game, with Djokovic seemingly in control, he backed away, unleashing precise background shots to take full advantage of some loose shots of Djokovic.
But world number two was relentless, breaking again when Thiem served to remain on the set, with the Austrian sending his first double foul of the game at the crucial moment.
This is a reminder to all of us that we must stay together more than ever. Words of wisdom eight times ... https://t.co/TylEMBrNs7 - #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1580649391000
Surprisingly, a rare double foul by Djokovic gave Thiem a break to go 2-1 on set two with the brave Austrian who refused to leave.
The Serbian was getting frustrated, looking at his training box and pointing at his head.
He returned to focus and once again began attacking Thiem's service, retreating 4-4, pumping his fists when the fifth seed sent a setback wide.
But two warnings about his service in the next game shook Djokovic and he broke down again, and the Serbian lost his cool by patting the referee's foot in the change and telling the officer: Great job ... you became famous.
It is always difficult to ask to speak after a defeat, but brilliantly done @ThiemDomi. We look forward to seeing you again next year ... https://t.co/2gpIXwf4kS - #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1580648657000
With Djokovic still looking distracted, Thiem served out the set -- the first the Serb had dropped in an Australian Open final since 2015.
Djokovic looked dejected and immediately broke twice in set three when Thiem ran to a 4-0 lead, having won six straight games with Djokovic's implosion.
The Serbian was heard telling a coach that he was tired and after losing the set, he went to a medical break.
He returned and the fourth set went on duty until a double foul by Thiem gave the Serbian two break points and he turned to regain control, taking out the set with an ace.
Djokovic drew on all his experience to force another break in the deciding fifth set to take a 2-1 lead and kept his foot on the gas to claim an eighth crown from the last 13 Australian Open s.
It wasn't meant to be tonight, Djokovic told Thiem. Bad luck. It was a difficult game. But you were very close to winning it.
You know, you definitely have much more time in your career and I'm sure you'll get one of the Grand Slam trophies. And more. More than one.