Thiem completes turnaround to enter Aus Open final- As it happened

World No.5 Dominic Thiem completes stunning comeback against Alexander Zverev in four sets 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(4) to enter maiden Australian Open final.

Thiem will take on Zverev for a place in the final of the Australian Open.   -  REUTERS/AP

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's LIVE blog of the Australian Open 2020 men's singles semifinal match between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. This was Lalith Kalidas bringing you the action as it unfolds.

 

SCORES READ [ SET NO: |Zverev-Thiem| ]

Thiem has fought back his way into this match after being convincingly beaten in the first set and boy what a return. The Thiem who fought Rafa Nadal was back in action - unbreakable on serve, impregnable in defence and solid on return! Zverev swooped away his chances and he will take him a lot of lessons after his first Grand Slam semis. The better man, marches on, to meet the master of the hard-courts - Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final on Sunday!

4: TB |4-7 | And DOMINIC THIEM finishes it off in style! An overpowering cross-court return followed up with a deft drop shot and Zverev is tangled in run!

4: TB | 4-6 | Just alive, a good serve from Zverev!

4: TB | 3-6 | MATCH POINT FOR THIEM!!

4: TB | 3-5 | What a return! Oh boy, what a ripper that was from Thiem as his mom cheers him on! There was nothing Zverev could do about it.

4: TB |3-4| Powerful serve from Zverev! 213km/h! And it keeps Thiem in check....

4: TB | 2-4 | Zverev misses and the Rod Laver Arena sighs in disbelief! He has surely bottled this one!

4: TB | 2-3 | - Thiem squanders! Zverev gets his biggest lifeline as Thiem misses a chance to seal his way to the final!

4: TB | 1-3|

4: TB | 0-3 | He has bottled it again! Zverev has thrown himself out contention as Thiem aims to dictate the proceedings on serve!

4: TB | 0-2 | Double fault! - Zverev has faltered now when it most mattered. Can you believe it?

4: TB | 0-1 |

4: |6-6| - Tiebreak! Zverev does not flounder under the pressure as he finishes serve with an excellent first serve!

A game away from a Grand Slam Final - Dominic Thiem!

4: |5-6| - Thiem storms through his serve.... Zverev is not given a chance to make his way through, not right now. The screws tighten up on his chances! 

4: |5-5| - ZVEREV HOLDS!! Not just done yet and he keeps him alive. He obviously happened before him in the third and will hope to make a break to boost his confidence. It is advantage Thiem if this is to be decided in the tiebreak.

4: |4-5| - Classical serve from Sasha! The precise serve with the approach cleans up Thiem in a jiffy!

 

4: |4-5|- THIEM HOLDS! One of the best games in the set and probably the match as Thiem is one game away from the Australian Open Final! Crucial serve for Zverev as the game hangs on a narrow tether for him!

4: |4-4| The rallies keep stretching.....Thiem comes out with the winner after an astounding 21-shot rallly. Unbelievable tennis from the two youngsters.

Not so easy...

 

4: |4-4| - Zverev HOLDS! Thiem posed a stiff challenge in this serve, clinging on to force a break but falters over and over again on the backhand which slides wide....

Over three hours....the young guns blazing on at the Rod Laver Arena

4: |3-4| - Another tiebreak on the cards! And rightly so as both Thiem and Zverev keeps the serve short - brimming in confidence as he sends down those aces and keeps the serve down wide.

4: |3-3| - Thiem on serve.

4: |3-3| Neck and neck here in the fourth! Both men crisp on serve. They have nudged away the crafty work and has focused on the classical serve and approach volley to do the trick.

4: |2-2| Zverev holds comfortably. Truly admirable the way he has served throughout the match and yet finds himself in a spot of bother. Intriguing as it may seem, credit to Thiem who has kept him at arm's length.

4: |1-2| Thiem holds! Just out. Zverev's backhand is just wide. 40-15 to Thiem. Great response by Thiem to a brilliant return from Zverev. Thiem smashes the forehand drive and the ball dips. Zverev cannot get enough on the backhand slice to send the ball over.

4: |1-1| ZVEREV HOLDS! Big serve to begin with. Thiem has no answers to Sacha's serve. 30-15. Thiem messes up a backhand from the centre, shoots it long. 40-15. Big serve down the T and finishes the point with an overhead volley, does Zverev. 40-30. From the centre, he goes down the line with the backhand, but the ball swirls away and lands wide of the baseline. Zverev with a vicious serve to Thiem's backhand, who hits the ball into the crowd.

4: |0-1| THIEM HOLDS! Unforced error from Thiem to begin with. 40-30. He misses yet another slice backhand. He hasn't had much success with this shot on the night, but he continues to use it. He eventually holds with a ripping forehand winner.

4TH SET BEGINS!

Thiem to serve first.

Time for the fourth set. Zverev must win the remaining two. He likes five-setters. He has a 13-6 win-loss record in those. Let's see if that happens today.

 

Third set tie-breaker. Thiem wins it 7-3 and wins the set 7-6 (3)

3-7: THIEM COMPLETES HIS TURNAROUND TO TAKE THE THIRD SET 7-6 (3). Charges to the net and sends a cross-court backhand far, far away from Zverev's reach.

Thiem serving for the set.

3-6: Second mini-break for Thiem and he now has three set points. Rifles a cracking down the line forehand.

3-5: Huuuge serve from Sacha. Thiem's return flies long.

2-5: Zverev overhits a serve return and complains to the umpire for not calling it a let.

2-4: Zverev with a mist-timed backhand from the centre.

2-3: Ace to reduce the deficit.

1-3: Good serve down the middle from Zverev and Thiem isn't able to return it over the net.

0-3: Thiem running away with it. Sacha squanders an easy service return.

0-2: Ace down the T to increase the lead.

0-1: Mini-break for Thiem who wins the point with a brilliant half-volley at the net.

 

Third set tie-breaker. This is only their second tie-breaker. First one dates back to Wimbledon 2016, which Zverev won.

 

3: |6-6| THIEM HOLDS and on we go the tie-breaker!Thiem makes a crucial forehand down the line while falling over. Thankfully, he is okay. 30-0 afte Zverev mistimes his forehand return and hits it wide. Unforced error from Thiem. 40-30. Great return from Zverev, as he sends it deep and the ball dips profusely. Which puts off Thiem as he hammers the forehand into the net. Game to Thiem. Gift from Zverev as he bottles an easy backhand drive. Tie-breaker time.

Thiem showing some discomfort here. Holding his stomach, suggesting something's off. He will now serve to stay in the match.

3: |6-5| ZVEREV HOLDS COMFORTABLY. Ace down the T to begin with. 30-30 to Zverev as Thiem's slice is long. 40-0 to Zverev. Big serve to Thiem's backhand, then charges down the line to cut the angle and then finishes it off with a regulation cross-court volley. He has really brought up his volley game in the third. Game to Zverev.

3: |5-5| THIEM HOLDS!!! 15-30 to Zverev. Lovely return from Zverev and once again, Thiem misses another forehand down the line. 30-30. Good serve from Thiem, too good fro Zverev to return. 40-30 Wild return from Zverev on the forehand. It was out by a long, long way. Deuce.  Adv and set point no.1 to Zverev. Charges the net to cut the angle for Thiem, who hits the backhand wide. Thiem saves one. That was as good a backhand down the line winner as he'll hit today. Crisp. Set point no.2 for Sacha.  A long rally that ends with Thiem ramming his backhand drive into the net. Nerves! Deuce no.3. Thiem is still in it. Great winner. Adv to Thiem now. A great serve to Sacha's forehand, who drills it way wide of the baseline. WHAT A BAILOUT FROM THIEM as Zverev finds the net with his backhand.

Thiem to serve to stay in the set and potentially, the match.

3: |5-4| BIG HOLD FOR ZVEREV! 0-30. After Zverev messes up a regulation forehand drive by hitting it long, Thiem unleashes his down the line backhand, one laden with a lot of side spin, to find the left sideline for a winner. 15-30. A loopy return from Thiem and the ball dropped short. Zverev charged in with ample time in hand to put the point to bed with a fierce forehand winner past Thiem's forehand. 30-30. Zverev draws level in the game. Zverev in a "conversation" with the umpire. Zverev is livid for the umpire calling it OUT. Break-point for Thiem. He follows it up with a brilliant ace. He is pumped and says a lot of words. And he's given a verbal abuse warning. Boy, he is pumped! Another ace to complete a big hold.

3: |4-4|Thiem holds! 15-15 to Thiem after Zverev's backhand serve return falls long.  40-15. Great stop volley from Thiem. He charges to net, transfers the body weight perfectly and the swing on the backhand is optimum for winner. A good serve to close out the game, one that Zverev wasn't able to keep inwards. That was his fastest serve of AO 2020 so far.

3: |4-3|Zverev holds! The German with the momentum now.

3: |3-3|ZVEREV BREAKS! 30-40 to Thiem. The Austrian saves one of the two break points. Once again, he is over-hitting his forehands and paying the price. Deuce. Thiem with a backhand drop, which was risky, but it pays off as Zverev nets the slice return at the net. Adv to Zverev and Zverev break to draw back level. Thiem's backhand finds the net and he is understand irritated.

3: |2-3| Important hold for Zverev. 15-30 to Zverev. Finally, a cross-court volley that ends up as a winner. Thiem had multiple chances for a pass winner, but credit where it's due. Zverev pulled off good volleys to win the point. 40-30. Great comeback in this game from Zverev. A great cross-court forehand winner. Deuce. Thiem refuses to give up. Brute strength here. It was a short-arm, backhand, cross-court jab. Wow. Adv Thiem. Detonates off his strengths, does Thiem. One more vicious forehand winner down the line. Deuce #2. Thiem's inside-out rams into the net. ADV TO ZVEREV IN THE MOST INCREDIBLE FASHION. From start to finish, both players looked like losing the point. There were volleys, tumbling volley, everything. But the German comes out on top. Zverev holds.

3: |1-3|The one-two punch from Thiem continues to pay dividends. Sends Zverev deep with his serve and then opens up the court for an easy put-away winner. 30-15. Zverev gifted a point after Theim whips a strong cross-court forehand wide. Deuce. Zverev has done really well to stay with Thiem. He fought hard with the defence and forced an error from Thiem, who sent a forehand drive wide Break point for Zverev now. Thiem continues to error with his forehand. Deuce #2. Thiem with a cross-court volley to bring himself level. Adv Thiem. Good serve to Sacha's forehand and the German nets the return. Ace. Thiem is now up a break.

3: |1-2| THIEM BREAKS! Poor return from Zverev allows Thiem to unleash his cross-court forehand past the German. Thiem then follows it up with a forehand off a Zverev volley that just finds the left baseline. Long rally and Zverev concedes the point with a poor top-spin forehand that falls wide. Triple break-point for Thiem. Zverev saves one with a sumptuous backhand. His height allows him to create steep angles that sends the ball further away from the opponent. Thiem's backhand return is wayward. Next, Thiem nets his forehand drive. 30-40. Theim breaks. Once again, poor volleying from Zverev continues to haunt him. The ball is at a comfortable height for Thiem to play a great cross-court backhand pass.

3: |1-1| THIEM HOLDS! Once again, Thiem's inside-out forehand troubles Zverev. The Austrian pushes the German deep to his backhand and the latter fails to cross the return over the net. Thiem follows it up with a double fault to make it 30-15.  The backhand service return from Zverev travels long as Thiem has two game points.  Easy as you like. A big serve followed by a huge forehand down the line for the winner. Game to Thiem.

The players are ready and the play resumes.

There is a slight delay here as a few light bulbs require a change. Both players have surrounded the officials, asking them to resume as soon as possible. Dominic Thiem is enjoying the music, smiling. And why wouldn't he? He is finally beginning to find consistency, which was the cornerstone of his success against Nadal in the quarterfinals.

3: |0-1| - Zverev holds serve! This is a crucial set which may possibly decide the outcome of this bout.

Zverev must be ruing the fact that he could not convert his chances in the fag end of the second. He will lose his chances as the match gets more and more physical.

Third set underway.....

 

2: |6-4| - An ace under pressure! Thiem has fought back into the game! One-all!

2: |SET POINT| - Thiem has clawed his way back into this! A point away to make it level!

2: |DEUCE| - This is high-class tennis here folks! Both players not giving an inch away as the long rallies vouch for a chill down the spine!

2: |5-4| - |30-40| - Thiem has missed a shocker! Smashes the drop on to the net and gives a break for Zverev!

2: |5-4| - |30-30| - A high-octane rally under pressure! What an exchange from the two youngsters!

2: |5-4| - Dominic Thiem serving for the set!

2: |5-4| - Zverev struggles but finds a way! Thiem is returning well here; a trouble brewing for Zverev. Time to adapt!

2: |5-3| - A game away! Thiem is riding back into the game! A supreme serving game here which clocks under a minute.

 

2: |4-3| - And he stays put! In a 'rally-break', Thiem has not agreed to give up!

2: |3-3| - |40-15| - With a bit of fortune - Thiem is on the break!

 

2: |3-3| Zverev breaks the Dominic serve! He is upbeat and has forced himself back to the reckoning with an excellent recovery. Has Thiem underestimated is opponent?

2: |3-2| Trouble brewing for Thiem! Once again, Zverev with excellent returns here!

1 hour on the clock!

2: |3-2| - He has 'managed' to hold here! Zverev was looking in trouble. In the last 15 minutes, Thiem has risen on top.

2: |3-1| - Thiem extends his lead! A comfortable serve has put him back on course in this semifinal.

 

2: |2-1| - Thiem has made the break! The double-fault has put Zverev in a dicey situation here, making the German slip on serve!

2: |1-1| - |40-15| - Break Point for Thiem!

2: |1-1| - Thiem has managed to fend off Zverev to hold the game barely in his first serve in the second set.

A more expressive Thiem is out there on court! Is he losing it in his mind?

2: |0-1| - Zverev is growing in stature; the confidence has lived up with the game. Thiem is drenched in poor returns and erratic errors in an early shock!

2nd set is on!

 

1: Zverev has stunned Thiem here! He has adapted in amazing grandeur and has put Thiem on the sword who is looking like a pale shadow of his self, a couple of days ago!

1: |DEUCE| A big break once again! Set Point for Zverev!

1: |3-5| Zverev holds and how! The serve is growing in confidence and under a minute, he is a game away from the first set in the semifinal!

Zverev has nonchalantly adapted his game to take command over Thiem in this clash! What a transformation!

1: |3-4| He has broken Thiem! Second time in the first set! Unlike the other day, Thiem is looking off his sheen at the start here. Zverev to serve for convincing the lead!

Clouds rumbling, roofs tumbling............

 

1: |3-3| Zverev holds in style! A progress on the approach play that makes use of Thiem's high volley.

Zverev must adapt to his opponent who is challenging him easily here!

1: |3-2| - Thiem's serves in comparison are much slower but the accuracy of his shots onto Zverev's forehand is jaw-dropping! Forces Sascha to drop it short and the fiery return seals the game for Thiem.

1: |2-2| - Zverev begins with an ace and holds his game.

And we are back on!

 

Meanwhile, it is drizzling on court. The roofs are closing in. Surely, a respite for the players to play in indoor feels under the heat.

1: |2-1| - |15-0| Goodness me! Thiem covers the court in entirety and manages to pull one this off. An awry looking Zverev at the net puts it off wide - stunned by the return from Thiem!

1: |2-1| - Thiem holds comfortably, gradually unleashing those rippers down the line. It is not a Rafa at the other end who can cover the space. Zverev will find it a hard battle as the Austrian pulls the trigger.

1: |1-1| - |40-15| - A bullet! That's all you can say about that one from Thiem. Nadal largely bore the brunt from this a couple of days ago. Will Zverev be forced to swallow the pill as well?

The power game is on!

1: |1-1| Thiem is forcing the power on those forehands! Zverev, playing so deep, still fails to reach out wide for that sizzler!

1: |1-1| And the World No.5 breaks back! An excellent response from Thiem here. Zverev looking shaky on serve.

1: | 40-0 | Three break points for Thiem! What a turnaround, Thiem's crisp returns have not been met well, Zverev staying way back down the baseline and committing errors.

1: | 0-1 | Zverev makes the break in the first game! Thiem targetting Zverev's forehand but the German responded well with simple rallies and caught Thiem off-guard. Early pressure for the Austrian.

1: |0-40 | Rusty from Thiem as Zverev has begun with brilliant returns, forcing the Austrian to commit the errors.

1: Thiem ready to serve! Here we go....

Set 1: Zverev and Thiem pose for the customary photograph. Sascha elects to receive. Does that suggest his troubles on serve? Remember the year began with a horrendous run in the ATP Cup - where nothing worked for the 22-year-old. But the tables have turned at Melbourne Park where the German has chiselled through each of his opponents without a fret.

Dominic Thiem and Alexand Zverev enters the magnificent Rod Laver Arena. The temperatures are soaring in a cruel, hot evening in Melbourne. Thiem and Zverev will hope to raise the flares too!

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Dominic Thiem heads into this clash of the newbies with the edge over Zverev - with the weight of history between the two and the level of tennis put out court during over the past two weeks. Thiem dethroned Nadal in a physical marathon and the Austrian's return game was at the acme of possibilities. The World No.5 will surely target to make the game a physical battle against a rejuvenated Zverev who has hardly dropped a sweat in the tournament. He dropped a lone set in the tournament so far in the quarterfinal against Wawrinka. The approach from a tussle of young competitive guys of different traits will make for an exciting viewing!

Who will take the decisive leap?

 

 

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Form Guide

 

Zverev - Round 1 – Cecchinato - 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3

Round 2 - v Gerasimov - 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5

Round 3v Verdasco - 6-2, 6-2, 6-4

Round 4 – v -17-Rublev - 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

QF - v - 15 -v- Wawrinka - 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

 

Thiem - Round 1 – v Mannarino – 6-3, 7-5, 6-2

Round 2 - v Bolt – 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2

Round 3 – v -29-Carreno Busta – 6-1, 6-2, 6-4

Round 4 – v -10 – Monfils – 6-2, 6-4, 6-4

QF - v -1 - Nadal - 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(6)

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The future is here!

 

It is 2020 and the ‘Big 3’ are still in the hunt to widen their empire. Has there been a greater dominance in sporting history among three stalwarts in the same era? I cannot think of many.

But this year – 2020 – the tides were hoped to slide away and the glimpses of it are slowly creeping in. Young superstars Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are competing against each other in the year’s first Grand Slam’s semifinal at the Rod Laver Arena.

As the dominance was meant to finally see competence, 5 seed Thiem stunned the World No.1 Rafael Nadal to take semifinal berth – over a four-hour tussle against the Spaniard. The Austrian was at the top of his game and there was little could do out of the blue to put Thiem off-guard.The Austrian will be reeling on high-spirits as he takes on the German 22-year-old “Sascha” Zverev - who may have the jitters of playing his first Grand Slam semifinal.

In their eight previous meetings, the Austrian holds the upper-hand, having won six of them. In hard-court clashes, the spoils are shared with a win apiece. In their last meeting at the ATP Finals in 2019, Zverev was trumped by the World No.5 in the semifinals. Zverev, however, having dropped only a single set in the tournament so far is high on confidence after a poor start to the year which was remarkably shoved off in Melbourne Park.

In a riveting clash between the youngsters – one will witness the future taking on the ‘King of the Australian Open’ in Sunday’s final! How far will this one go!