LONDON: Dominic Thiem has become the first Austrian player in history to reach the title match at the ATP Finals after battling his way past Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.
Thiem, who has been battling with flu symptoms throughout the week, showed little signs of physical tiredness as he rallied to a 7-5, 6-3, victory. Securing his sixth career win over Zverev in eight meetings. In their latest clash, he saved all four of the break points he faced and claimed 81% of his first service points.
“This is a big dream come true for me.” Said Thiem. “It’s one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year and I’m getting the chance to play in the final. It’s unreal to me.’
“To beat the defending champion, a good friend and unbelievable player is always a great achievement. I’m very, very happy.”
At stake for Thiem in his latest match wasn’t just a place in the final, it was also the chance to rise to number four in the world rankings. The highest-year end ranking of his career to date.
Taking to the court, there was little to tear the players apart throughout the opening set. In two separate Thiem service games, he faced break points, but managed to hold his nerve to draw level. Much to the annoyance of his rival. Ultimately it would be an error-stricken Zverev service game that would separate the two. Leading 6-5, Thiem gained two set-point opportunities thanks to a forehand shank from across the court. After failing on his first attempt, he prevailed on his second at the expense of a Zverev double fault.
There was little emotion showed by the 26-year-old throughout what was a business-like performance. Even his camp, which included former player Nicolas Massu, looked relatively calm. Meanwhile, Zverev lacked the intensity he showed in some of his other matches earlier this week.
The second frame initially followed the same pattern as the first. A seemingly tense Zverev dropped serve midway to elevate the world No.5 to a set and 4-2 lead. In control, Thiem continued to tame the threats he faced. Serving for a historic place in the final, he raced to match point with the help of his sixth ace. The victory was then secured with a clean forehand winner.
“Luckily, I’m feeling much better,” Thiem commented on his current health. “I had some days off and of course I played a match against Matteo (Berrettini), which was not great for my body.”
“I hope I’m feeling even better tomorrow and I will give my everything. It is my last match of the season.” He added.
Thiem will play Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final on Sunday evening. It will be the seventh meeting between the two and he currently leads their head-to-head 4-2. Should he win, he would become the only player on the ATP tour in 2019 to win six tournaments.
“We are both very offensive players.” He previewed. “He’s very attractive to watch, I love watching him (play). I’m looking forward to playing him.”
“I’m happy and also lucky to get a chance to play him in this amazing atmosphere (at The O2).”
The soon to be world No.4, which was the position Zverev held at the end of 2018, will be playing in his 25th ATP Final on Sunday.
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.
Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.
Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.
Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.
Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.
Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.
Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.
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