The Women’s Australian Open final was an interesting one that saw Sofia Kenin win her maiden Grand Slam. Will we see another maiden winner in the men’s? Only time will tell. Here, we preview the upcoming final between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem and provide our best bet for the match. As always, good luck to everyone following!
Sunday, 7:30pm AEDT
It’s been an epic fortnight of tennis in Melbourne and for the 59th time in the last 61 Grand Slams we have one of the ‘Big Three’ in the final. It’s Novak Djokovic taking on Dominic Thiem in what should be a thoroughly entertaining final to close out a special couple of weeks of the ATP in Australia.
What more can you say about this guy. Novak Djokovic is the king of the Australian Open and if you think otherwise, then just look at his seven trophies. He’s the defending champion and he has proven why this campaign. Funnily enough, I don’t think we’ve seen his best tennis apart from his fantastic match against Milos Raonic in the fourth round. ‘The Joker’ played cat and mouse with Federer in the semis and even though it looked like he was struggling early, the win was inevitable.
As mentioned above, the Joker has won seven AO titles, which makes up a portion of his 16 career Grand Slams. He’s third in the all-time rankings and has a chance to close the gap to the leader in Federer (20) to three if he can salute on Sunday night. Djokovic is undoubtedly the best hard court player we’ve ever seen and at just 32 years of age, it seems like there’s a lot more top notch play to come.
Road to the final
First round: Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) 7-6(5) 6-2 2-6 6-1
Second round: Tatsuma Ito (Japan) 6-1 6-4 6-2
Third round: Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) 6-3 6-2 6-2
Fourth round: Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 6-3 6-4 6-4
Quarter-final: Milos Raonic (Canada) 6-4 6-3 7-6(1)
Semi-final: Roger Federer (Switzerland) 7-6(1) 6-4 6-3
A little less known to the casual fan is the 26-year-old Austrian in Dominic Thiem. Although not a household name, this guy is no stranger to Grand Slam finals. He’s battled it out with Rafael Nadal in the past two French Open finals and is the clear second best clay court player on Tour. What is new(ish) to his game however, is his ability to dominate on the hard court. He announced himself as a big threat on the surface when he won Indian Wells last year and has obviously continued on with it to reach this year’s AO final.
If you’ve been following this year’s AO, then you’d be aware that Thiem has played a couple of epic matches already en route to the final. Interestingly, one of his toughest and his only five-setter came against Aussie Wildcard Alex Bolt in the first week. Thiem shrugged that long match off to go on to defeat Rafael Nadal in four epic sets in the quarters, before dispatching Alexander Zverev in another four set match in the semi-finals.
Road to the final
First round: Adrian Mannarino (France) 6-3 7-5 6-2
Second round: Alex Bolt (Australia) 6-2 5-7 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2
Third round: Taylor Fritz (U.S.) 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 6-4
Fourth round: Gael Monfils (France) 6-2 6-4 6-4
Quarter-final: Rafael Nadal (Spain) 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(6)
Semi-final: Alexander Zverev (Germany) 3-6 6-4 7-6(3) 7-6(4)
As an exciting match as this is, we can only see this going one way. Thiem has had to battle his way through to the final, while Djokovic has been in cruise control since arriving in Melbourne. The Joker is the clearly better player of the two and should be able to take advantage of Thiem’s sub-par serve unlike Nadal. Expect Thiem to have some chance in the first two sets, but it will be Djokovic that prevails in most likely three sets.
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