Djokovic wins eighth Australian Open

Monday, 03 Feb, 2020

An eighth Australian Open title - extending the men's record he already held - arrived on Sunday when Djokovic fended off Dominic Thiem in five sets.

That was part of a six-game run that gave Thiem the second set - Djokovic had taken 16 in a row since the opening round last week - and control of the third. He slammed one ball in anger after a point.

Thiem held his serve valiantly but Djokovic only had to serve out the set and he would not be denied his chance to achieving history.

Thiem, unsurprisingly, saw the benefits of not having the extra day despite coming off two tough wins over world number one Rafael Nadal and Zverev.

But the precious seconds continued to tick down, and Dumusois again handed down a time violation - this one costing Djokovic a first serve.

"You made yourself famous".

Djokovic faced questions over his durability earlier in his career, after a series of retirements for reasons ranging from a toe blister to heat problems at the 2009 Australian Open, when he was defending champion.

Thiem said he hoped he wouldn't have to wait long for another crack at Djokovic, while paying tribute to the 17-time major champion. A tepid 85 miles per hour second serve followed, and Thiem took the game for a 5-4 edge when Djokovic flubbed a forehand. Earlier in the fortnight, he said he had been dealing with "different things".

But the Austrian bounced back to take the second set.

The German has been impressed by his friend's evolution, saying: "He flattens his shot out much more".

The fact that Thiem has had a lot of success in tiebreaks recently could put him in a strong position against Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the second ranked player in the world, in the men's final on Sunday.

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 Opens.

The trend ultimately continued, Thiem erring to crucially concede serve at 1-2.

"Then there was one point where I just said 'OK, I have to accept it".

There was no drama in the final game.

The wheels came off rather suddenly for Djokovic in late 2016, when he went into a slump and then, suffering from an elbow injury, ended his 2017 campaign after Wimbledon. He has always wanted to be loved - Federer and Nadal surpass him on that front - and he got his wish.

"That's one heck of a way to rack up those Grand Slam titles". He trails Nadal by two and Federer by three.

"It's a big motivation to beat players like Nadal, No 1 in the world, in the centre court in a slam". Djokovic, meanwhile, shrugged off a tentative start to reinforce his recent dominance, showing no mercy to Roger Federer, in a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-3 win to reach the final. He was two points from defeat to John Millman and saved seven match points against Tennys Sandgren in the quarter-finals. "That's what makes it very, very hard for other players to break through". He gestured, too, that he felt like vomiting in his semifinal.

Thiem was the first to praise his opponent after the game.

"If it was in the AFL, you would be in big", he said.

"Amazing achievement. Unreal what you're doing throughout all these years", said the fifth-seeded Thiem, who is 0-3 in major finals.