Friday, January 31, 2020

Thiem tops Zverev to gain first Australian Open final

Dominic Thiem hoists the trophy at Indian Wells last March after defeating
Roger Federer. Photo by Mal Taam
   Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem beat seventh-seeded Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) early today to reach his first Australian Open final.
   Thiem, 26, saved two set points in the third set en route to his third Grand Slam singles final. He has lost to Rafael Nadal in the last two French Opens.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Zverev, a 22-year-old German, was playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal. He had pledged to donate the champion's prize money of $2,853,100 (U.S.) to the Australian Bushfire Relief Fund if he won the title.
   Thiem is scheduled to face second-seeded Novak Djokovic, who won his seventh Australian Open singles title last year. ESPN will televise Sunday's match live at 12:30 a.m. California time and taped at 6 p.m.
   Djokovic is 6-4 overall and 3-1 on hardcourts against Thiem, the first Austrian to reach the final in Melbourne. Djokovic is 7-0 in Australian Open finals and ranks third all-time with 16 Grand Slam singles titles. Federer has 20 and Nadal 19.
   Djokovic, 32, much fresher than Thiem, 26, in the final. Not only has Djokovic has won his last two matches in straight sets in less than three hours each, he has two days to rest to Thiem's one. Thiem needed 4 hours, 10 minutes to subdue the top-seeded Nadal in four sets in the quarterfinals and 3:42 to top Zverev.

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