Djokovic rallies past Thiem to lift Australian Open title- As it happened

Novak Djokovic fought back from trailing 1-2 to defeat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to lift the 2020 Australian Open title and his eighth overall.

Djokovic is gunning for his eighth Australian Open title while Thiem will fight for his first Grand Slam success.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Hello and welcome to the highlights of the Australian Open 2020 men's singles final between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem at the Rod Laver Arena. This was Shivansh Gupta taking you through the proceedings at the Melbourne Park.

 

Novak Djokovic beats Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to lift the 2020 Australian Open title.

 

That's all for this edition of the Australian Open. Thank you so much for joining me. Until next, it's goodbye. CIAO!

As far as Novak Djokovic is concerned, he just forces one to wonder what he is made of. His mental toughness is something truly inspirational, considering how done and dusted he looked by the end of third and still managed to stage a stellar comeback.

Kudos to Dominic Thiem for putting up a great fight and almost upsetting the Serbian great.

When the fresh rankings are released tomorrow, the Serb will No. 1 in the world again.

IT'S GRAND SLAM NO. 17 FOR NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND A RECORD 8TH AUSTRALIAN OPEN TITLE.

 

SCORES READ [ NOVAK DJOKOVIC - DOMINIC THIEM]

5:  |6-4| NOVAK DJOKOVIC WINS THE 2020 AUSTRALIAN OPEN TITLE! 0-15 as Thiem nails a spectacular down the line forehand for a winner. 15-15 as Djokovic responds with an ace past Thiem's backhand side. 30-15. Thiem's forehand flies long and the elusive eighth title is even closer for Djokovic. 40-15. TWO CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS FOR DJOKOVIC AS THIEM HITS A BACKHAND WIDE DOWN THE LINE. Thiem's forehand across the court is wide AND NOVAK DJOKOVIC HAS DONE IT!!!!!!!!

Novak Djokovic serving for the match.

5:  |5-4| THIEM HOLDS!15-0. Djokovic, in the centre of the court, rams the backhand into the net. 30-0 to Thiem as Djokovic's attempted backhand slice finds the net. 40-0  Good serve from Thiem, who outfoxed Novak with a quick second serve and the Serb missed the ball completely. 40-15 after Thiem hits a half volley at the baseline wide. Thiem holds after Novak's backhand return falls wide.

Thiem serving to stay in the match.

5:  |5-3| NOVAK HOLDS! 28-shot rally and Djokovic nets a simple cross-court forehand. Some people can barely watch and they have my sympathies.  It's been that kind of a match, especially this fifth set. 40-30. What an astounding second serve under pressure from the seven-time Australian Open champions. Top-spin and the ball died down on Thiem, who had no chance to return that. NOVAK HOLDS AS Thiem's return fails to cross over the net.

5:  |4-3| INCREDIBLY TOUGH HOLD FROM THIEM! Thiem continues to fight. He saves a break point, virtually a match point, to keep himself i the hunt. ADV to Thiem after he dishes out an ace down the line. Thiem holds in one of the most nervous ways possible. Novak's backhand return is wide as Thiem is still alive in the contest.

5:  |4-2| CONVINCING HOLD BY DJOKOVIC!  15-0 as Thiem's backhand serve return ends up into the net. 30-0 as Thiem overhits another service  return long. 40-0. Thiem made Novak run the hard yards but ended up gifting him the point by going too hard and wide with the cross-court backhand. ACE to finish the game!

5:  |3-2| MAGNIFICENT HOLD FROM THIEM! 40-15 to Dom after he pulls off another scintillating down the line backhand for a winner. 40-30 after Djokovic's ridiculously quick return takes Dominic by surprise  and the Austrian hits it back but wide. Deuce as Dominic's backhand fetch shoots into the net. Adv to Thiem with an ace. THIEM CLOSES OUT THE GAME AS Djokovic hits a regulation forehand drive out of bounds.

5:  |3-1| IMPORTANT HOLD FOR NOVAK! 15-0 as Djokovic comes down the track and executes a flawless cross court winner off his forehand. 15-15. The high ball is rammed into the net by Novak. 30-15 as Thiem makes another unforced error of his forehand drive. It travels long. 30-30. Brilliant point by Thiem, who catches Novak off guard with a cross-court backhnand. The lob from the Serb falls wide. 30-40. The backhand slice from Thiem dips profusely and the Serb hits his slice into the net. Break point squandered as Thiem's inside out is into the net. This time, Novak's backhand is into the net and Thiem has one more opportunity to break Novak's serve. DEUCE #2. What a volley from Novak and then moved left to cover Thiem's favourite shot, backhand down the line. The Austrian shot it long. ADV to Novak. Audacious from Novak, for him to play a drop like that at this stage. Thiem almost had it covered, but hit the return just long. NOVAK HOLDS AS THIEM GOES LONG WITH HIS RETURN.

5:  |2-1| NOVAK BREAKS THIEM! 0-15. Djokovic has stepped up his game big time and the pressure of that is starting to reflect in Thiem's game as he squanders a down the line backhand whip. 15-15 as Djokovic nets a return. 30-15. Dominic with an ace past Novak's forehand side. 30-30. Oh, costly miss! He had ample time to put in an easy forehand down the line. But the Austrian went for speed instead and missed the basline by a whisker. BREAK POINT FOR THIEM! The long rallies are preferred by Novak and not so much  by Thiem and the result of the point showed that that Thiem whipped his inside out forehand into the net. NOVAK BREAKS!  Thiem's forehand return falls long.

5:  |1-1| Easy hold for Novak as well! 30-0 as Thiem's service return finds the net. He closes the game with a lovely down the line forehand after a good serve that forced a poor return from the Austrian

5:  |0-1| COMFORTABLE HOLD FOR THIEM! Brilliant service game to begin with!

 

Thiem to serve first.

The fifth the final set is here. Let's get going!

Novak Djokovic takes the fourth set 6-3 to make it 2-2 enforce the decider. What a clean set of tennis from the seven-time Australian Open champion. 13 winners, just 4 unforced errors and he's right back in it, is Djokovic.

4:  |6-3| NOVAK TAKES THE FOURTH TO ENFORCE THE DECIDER! 15-0. Deep serve, then gigantic forehand and then approach to the net for a winner. Djokovic makes it 30-0 with an inside out winner of his own. An ace down to cap the set. Djokovic, you beauty!

Djokovic to serve for the set.

4:  |5-3| DJOKOVIC BREAKS!15-0! Gigantic inside out forehand across the court from Thiem. 15-15. Careless from Thiem. After sending Djokovic back with a great ground stroke but netted the volley on the approach. 15-30. Making the move here, Novak as Thiem suffers yet another unforced error. His backhand slams into the net. 150-40. What a time to serve a double fault. Two break points for Novak. He saves one with great, deep serve and then zips to the net for a winner. 30-40 now. DJOKOVIC BREAKS! WHAT MENTAL TOUGHNESS HAS THIS CHAMPION SHOWN! Another unforced error from Thiem, who probably played the worst game of the set.

The match duration now reads 3 hours and 5 minutes.

4:  |4-3| QUICK HOLD FOR DJOKOVIC! 0-15. Novak's backhand across the court smashes into the middle of the net. 15-15. Great serve to Thiem's backhand, who can only send it back long. 30-15. Wow! Some seriously wonderful serving. An Ace past Thiem's forehand. 40-30. Thiem's backhand down the line is wayward. He threw the kitchen sink at that shot and paid the price. Thiem nets the next service return and that was a quick game.

4:  |3-3| WHAT A HIGH QUALITY HOLD ROM THIEM! He stays at par with the Serb. That hold is so, so important for the Austrian.  Had this gone to Novak, a fifth was definitely in the making.

4:  |3-2| DJOKOVIC WITH A WONDERFUL HOLD! 15-0.  Novak indulges Thiem into a long rally and forces an error out of the Austrian, who nets the return. 30-0 with a lovely, top-spinm cross-court, forehand winner. 40-0 as Thiem's backhand flies long down the centre. Djokovic believes again. His body language and his movement say so. Novak draws Thiem forward with a drop and the two exchange a few slices on the full before Novak wins the point and the game.

4:  |2-2|BRILLIANT HOLD BY THIEM! More of these Thiem! Quick net approach and a backhand volley winer to go 15-0 up. Makes it 30-0 with a powerful down the line forehand winner. He kept Novak rooted on his backhand side before drilling one down the line. 40-15. Yet again, Thiem pushes Novak way deep into the court and forces a loopy return from him. Them approaches the net with a volley winner. Shoots an ace to close the game.

4:  |2-1| DJOKOVIC HOLDS! 15-0. Huge forehand and Thiem is late on the return as he hits it wide. 30-30. Shocker of a miss. Djokovic had Thiem deep with his forehand and then had enough time for a forehand, down the line winner but he hits it wide. 30-40. Break point opportunity for Thiem as Djokovic hits another forehand long. Deuce. Djokovic saves the breakpoint with brilliant serve and volley combination. ADV to the Serb after he wins the point with another volley, this time off his forehand. Bit of luck for the Serb as he plays out a good hold. His backhand slice catches the tape and just trickles over.

4:  |1-1| THIEM HOLDS! What an excellent approach from Djokovic. Sliced through that ball like how a knife slices through vegetables. It was a quick, slice winner, to put it simply. Thiem drills an ace and holds comfortably.

4:  |1-0| Djokovic holds! He definitely looks a bit more lively as he comfortably holds. He is moving better, faster and looks more calm and composed.

 

Djokovic is back out now.

Well, well, well! How about this for a turnaround? Thiem, who looked all over the place in the first set, has bounced back in stellar fashion to win the next two. On the other hand, Djokovic's energy seems to have dropped as he has taken a big medical timeout at the end of the third set.

Dominic Thiem has won the third set 6-2 to lead 2-1 in the match.

3:  |2-6| THIEM HOLDS TO BAG THE THIRD SET! 0-15 as Thiem's forehand is a little too strong on that occasion. 15-15. This is Thiem on a different level. Lovely volley to put the point to bed after forcing Djokovic deep with powerful groundstrokes. 30-30. Thiem's backhand darts long. 40-30. That's a thing of beauty right there!!! Set point with a magnificent forehand winner that just brushed the baseline. Deuce! Bottles the opportunity by netting his forehand drive. Adv to Thiem. One more set point to the Austrian. Unleashes a flurry of smashes before drilling in the winner. Deuce no. 2. Another double fault. Nerves, I tell you! His fourth double fault of the night. Adv to Thiem again. Lovely serve, deep to Novak's forehand who could only hit it back long. Deuce no. 3. Djokovic, who seems to have run out of steam, still has enough in him for a backhand down the line winner. Adv to Novak.  This game is almost seven minutes long now. Novak with an overhead smash. Deuce #4 as he hits the return long. Set point no. 4 to Thiem. THIEM TAKES SET NUMBER TO TWO AS NOVAK RAMS THE BACKHAND INTO THE NET.

Thiem to serve for the set.

3:  |2-5| COMFORTABLE HOLD FOR DJOKOVIC!  30-15  with a wide serve- down the line winner combo. 40-15 with an ace down the T. Caps off the game by serving wide to Thiem's backhand and then having the whole court to himself for an easy put away winner.

3:  |1-5| EASY HOLD FOR THIEM! 15-0 with a monstrous serve to Djokovic's backhand the ball flies into the crowd. 30-0 with a top-spin, forehand, cross-court winner. 40-0 with an ace past Djokovic's forehand. The Serb challenges the call and the original call stay. Easy hold. Lovely flow to Thiem's tennis as he dishes out another one of his down the line backhand.

The doctor and the trainer of Djokovic are out and he complains of fatgiue. No injuries so to speak, but seems the lack of energy. He consumed a few liquids and food at the break.

3:  |1-4| DJOKOVIC IS FINALLY ON THE BOARD! That's just lacklustre from the defending champion. Carelessly hits the backhand down the line wide. 15-15. Makes it 40-15 with a superb half volley at the net. 1-2 combo, the serve and volley combo to win the point. Novak wins his first game of the set with a cross-court backhand winner.

3:  |0-4| BIG, BIG HOLD FROM THEIM! 0-15. Djokovic rips off a scintillating down the line backhand for a winner. 15-15 as Djokovic mistimes a cross-court forehand. 15-30. Double fault from Thiem. 30-30. Djokovic's forehand slice falls long off the baseline. 40-30. That.is.magical. Novak fails to capitalise on a couple of easy volleys and allows Thiem to pull off a delicious lob up and over Novak. Thiem finishes it off with an ace is now up 4-0.

Djokovic, is now visibly irritated. He has been very animated on the court and not happy with the crowd. He seems distracted and that's hurt him. ON the other hand, Thiem has brought his A-game and is acing the contest now.

3:  |0-3| THIEM UP A DOUBLE BREAK! Outstanding tennis from Thiem, who is finally beginning to nail his ferocious down the line backhands. Two break points for Thiem. Djokovic saves one. Thiem fends off two huge smashes before failing on the third. 30-40. THIEM BREAKS AGAIN TO GO UP A DOUBLE BREAK. Djokovic's forehand finds the net.

3:  |0-2| THIEM BAILS OUT TO HOLD!  0-30 to Djokovic. 30-30 as Djokovic nets two regular backhands. Signs of struggle from the Serb here. 30-40 break point for Novak. A tight battle at the baseline and Djokovic plays a delightful drop to win the point. Thiem is a second too late to the ball. 40-40. Finally, the vicious down the line backhand from Thiem lands inbounds. Even a player of Novak's class cannot return it over the net. Adv to Thiem. Rips out an inside out forehand from the centre for a winner. Djokovic bottles the game by bottling the forehand.

3:  |0-1| THIEM BREAKS EARLY! The Serbian starts with a double fault. 15-15 after Thiem squanders yet another down the line backhand. This particular shot by Thiem has yielded great success for him in the tournament so far but he hasn't gotten it going tonight. 30-15 with an ace by the Serb. 30-30. Impressive from Thiem. Comes forward after pushing Djokovic deep and then finishes it off with a cross-court drop volley. 30-40. Break point to Thiem now with a cracking down the line, forehand winner. Deuce. The Serb holds on. Thiem's forehand, in response to Novak's drop volley, clips the net and falls wide.  Adv to Thiem, another break point opportunity. Thiem breaks as Djokovic errors with his backhand.

 

We are ready for the third. Djokovic to serve first.

Brilliant show of grit and determination from Thiem. The Austrian has kept up throughout and that has allowed him to draw back level.

Dominic Thiem wins the second set 6-4.

2:  |4-6| Oh, just out! Novak does so well to cover gigantic amount of ground with insanely good footwork, but gets the last cross-court backhand wrong by just hitting it wide. 30-0 to Thiem  with an ace. Novak makes a futile challenge. 40-0 to Thiem. They are all fired up. Thiem with a cracking down the line winner off his forehand. 40-15. Djokovic utilises the second serve really well on the backhand and forces Thiem wide with return and the Austrian rams his backhand into net. THIEM DRAWS LEVEL!

Thiem serving for the set.

Oh, boy! Djokovic is boiling. He taps the referee's feet on the way to his seat and gives him an earful for calling him out at the serves. Is this the kind of turning point Thiem needs to pull a set back?

2:  |4-5| THIEM BREAKS!Djokovic feels the set leaning back towards him now. Another long exchange at the net which ends with Thiem looping a cross-court forehand wide.  15-15. There you go, Thiem. Covers good ground, lines himself up and drills a monstrous down the line, forehand winner. 15-40. Two break points to Thiem as Djokovic misses another backhand slice, nets this one as well. For the second time in this game, Novak loses the first serve by running the shot clock down. DJOKOVIC HITS THE RETURN LONG AND THIEM BREAK AGAIN.

2:  |4-4| DJOKOVIC BREAK BACK! Sumptuous drop from Thiem. Probably the best one from him in the fortnight so far. Novak was deep and just when he was running back in, Thiem executed a delightful drop and left the Serb with no chanc.e 40-30 after he bags a forehand down the line winner. Deuce. Unforced error from Thiem, who hits the drive long. Adv to Djokovic as Thiem messes up another down the line drive. THIEM MISSES ANOTHER DOWN THE LINE BACKHAND AND DJOKOVIC IS ECSTATIC AS HE HAS BROKEN BACK.

2:  |3-4| Novak with a convincing hold! Wow, that's some serious serving from the Serb as the Austrian has no chance on returning them. At 40-0, Djokovic slices one wide before playing a forehand winner across the court.

2:  |2-4|THIEM HOLDS AND STAYS AHEAD! One, two but not three. Thiem forces Novak deep and unleashes a flurry of overhead smashes that Djokovic manages to keep in. On the third attempt, Thiem drills a winner. 30-15. Once again, good, big serve from Thiem and then runs to the net for a smashing winner. 30-30. Still can't find it! Thiem goes down the line again with his backhand, one laden with a lot of side spin, but errors yet again. Double fault and hands a break point to Djokovic. First time he did it, Novak won the set. Deuce. He saves it this time with his monstrous inside out forehand. Adv to Thiem after Novak's service return flies wide and long. Backhand slice into the net and Novak concedes the game.

2:  |2-3| Djokovic fights to hold! 15-15. Djokovic with another unforced error as his backhand return finds the net. He seems to have lost some rhythm at the moment and his success rate on the second serve is also dropping. If Thiem can break him again in this game, it will be a huge morale boost for the Austrian. 15-40. Thiem has himself to blame in this game. Two back-to-back poor returns. He holds, does the Serb. Big forehands, forcing Dominic fetching deep before Thiem rifles a backhand return way long.

2:  |1-3| THIEM HOLDS TO GO UP A BREAK! Thiem serves big to Novak's forehand and then converts the volley into an inside out forehand winner on the full. Djokovic smiles and acknowledges the brilliance of that shot. 40-0. Thiem's body language has completely changed. He is playing closer the baseline and that allowed him to charge to the net faster and execute the overhead smash for a winner. After Thiem hits a down the line backhand wide, he closes the game in the next point as Novak's drop bounces just wide.

2:  |1-2| THEIM BREAKS! Thiem feeling more like himself now. He pulls off a stunning single-handed, down the line backhand winner. Serb continues to fire. A good serve down the T and then zips down the net for volley winner. 30-30. Double fault by Novak hands Thiem a break point. He went fast and hard on the second serve and missed it by a whisker. Deuce. Poor execution. He lets himself down here. Tries to go for the glory again with his down the line backhand, but mistimes it and hits it waywide. Adv to Thiem as a sliding Novak overhits a forehand. Deuce. Novak saves the break point with a huge serve to Thiem's forehand and then shooting down the line for a volley. Adv to Thiem and another break point opportunity. Oh,no! Double fault on break point as Thiem has his nose ahead.

2:  |1-1|EASY HOLD FOR THIEM AS WELL! 30-0 after Djokovic misses a backhand return that falls wide. Make that two in a row. This time, from the centre of the court that rifles long. Ace by Thiem to cap off the game.

2:  |1-0| WHAT A HOLD! A great drop shot followed by a worldly backhand down the line as Novak begins the second set in stellar fashion.

 

Djokovic to serve first.

Novak Djokovic takes the opening set 6-4. 16 unforced errors from Thiem to 14 of Djokovic. Poorer on the first serve by 7% as Thiem, who made a comeback from 1-4 to 4-4, conceded the set with a double fault. He has more winners thoughh, 12-9. Outstanding tennis from both ends though.

1:  |6-4| DJOKOVIC TAKES THE FIRST SET!Thiem's forehand down the centre shoots long. The on-court call is out. Thiem challenges but it's a futile one. 0-15 to Djokovic. 0-30 as Thiem misses yet another single-handed down the line backhand. 15-30. Real reprieve for Thiem as Djokovic bottles an easy return on the second serve, hits it long. 30-30. Lovely tennis from Thiem. Pushes Novak deep with his inside out forehand and The Serb somehow manages to get it back. But the ball is high and loopy, giving Thiem enough time for the smash. Set point to Novak as Thiem's top-spin forehand down the line shoots long. Deuce! Just out from Novak. Another heart-wrenching baseline exchange which ends with Novak's forehand rifling long. Adv to Thiem. The ball begins to dip at the baseline, putting the Serb off as he rams the cross forehand into the net. Deuce #2. Unforced error from Thiem, as he hits the forehand wide. Set point no.2 for Novak. fFault. Second second serve. DOUBLE FAULT FROM THIEM AND DJOKOVIC TAKES THE FIRST SET.

1:  |5-4| Stabilising game for Novak as he holds with ease. He got a bit frustrated with someone in the crowd, who cheered for Thiem despite Novak winning the point. But after a small blip, he looks calm again.

1:  |4-4| THIEM DRAWS BACK LEVEL WITH THE HOLD.  Oh, what a contest this has suddenly become. 15-0. Novak with a scintillating down the line forehand. 15-15. From the centre of the court, Thiem with a huge forehand winner. Cricket legend Ricky Ponting, who is in the stands today, liked that. 30-40. Ferocious return from Novak, deep and cross court , to which Thiem has no answers as he hits the down the line forehand wide. 40-40. Thiem saves this breakpoint. Thiem holds.

Well, that was some game from Thiem. Game on after 37 minutes. 5-1 to Novak and the first set would have been over. But the resilient Dom, the Giant Killer, is far from giving up.

1:  |4-3| THIEM BREAK NOVKA! 15-40 to Thiem. A long, long exchange at the baseline between the two and Thiem earns himself two break points opportunities with a vicious inside out cross-court forehands. THIEM BREAK BACK! Novak's cross backhand ends up in the net.

1:  |4-2| THIEM WITH ANOTHER DIFFICULT HOLD! Rare error from Djokovic. Hovering in the centre of the court, Novak could have gone anywhere. Instead, he decides to play a drop off the forehand that finds the net. 40-0 to Thiem with an ace down the T. 40-15 as Thiem's backhand shoots wide. Deuce. A little callous from Thiem as he throws away a 40-0 advantage by hitting a cross-court forehand wide. Adv to Thiem. Good serve to Novak's backhand and then makes full use of a simple return with a forehand winer. Deuce #2. Novak with a drop and Thiem responds with one of his own. Novak shows quicks hands to play back the volley but Thiem's overhead volley shoots long. Ace down the T and adv to Theim. Novak's down the line backhand rams into the net and Thiem finally holds.

1:  |4-1| Djokovic holds! A crisp down the line backhand to close the game. Two unforced errors from Thiem in the game, one from Djokovic.

1:  |3-1| Thiem on the board with a difficult hold. Thiem is clearly feeling the heat of the occasion. Another regulation return that ends up into the net. Djokovic's backhand slide at the net fails to cross over. 15-15. Thiem's serve is too quick and wide for Djokovic to return. 30-15. Poor on the second serve, has Thiem been on the night so far as Djokovic forces another error from Thiem with a a great service return. 40-30. Novak's cross-court forehand falls just wide of the left baseline. Deuce #1. Easy picking for Novak, who puts the point to bed with an easy cross-court forehand drive after a poor return from Thiem. Adv Thiem. After Djokovic attacks the net, Thiem sends him back with a brilliant lob. The Serb brings out the tweener but Thiem is present at the net for an easy volley. Thiem holds as Novak's return finds the return.

1:  |3-0| DJOKOVIC UP A BREAK NOW! Class. Thiem's forehand clips the net nd falls short. Novak zips down and plays a mouth-watering drop for a winner. Makes it 30-0 with a good serve to Thiem's backhand, who fails to return the ball over the net. 40-15. Thiem's chip forehand barely reaches the net. Easy hold for Djokovic as his serve, deep to Thiem's forehand, is too good for the Austrian.

1:  |2-0| NOVAK BREAKS EARLY! Good serve to Novak's backhand, who sent the return wide. 30-0 after a similar point, this time the return from Novak rams into the net. 30-15. Novak loves long rallies and he comes out on top in this one, as Thiem's backhand from the centre slams into the net. 40-15 A little off balance on the backhand, was Novak, as he failed to get the drive over. 40-30. What a return service return from Novak, deep to Thiem's forehand. The Austrian was caught off guard and ended up hitting the return wide. Deuce! Unforced error from Thiem as he shoots a forehand drive long. ACE down the T and Adv to Thiem. Deuce #2. Great baseline play from Novak. With measured control and accuracy, makes Thiem dart left and right, forcing him to fetch deep before coming at the net for a winner. ACE and adv to Thiem. Deuce #3. The nerves playing a bigger role in Thiem's game so far. Nets a regulation backhand slice. Adv to Novak and what a scintillating way to do so. Thiem with a drop and Novak with great placement to force an error from Thiem. Thiem hits another unforced error as his forehand is into the net. Novak converts the breakpoint.

1:  |1-0| Easy hold first up for the defending champion! Djokovic starts with a let. The a fault. Thiem returns the second serve wide. 15-0. A big exchange from the baseline and Thiem hits one long. 30-0. Good comeback from Thiem. A good serve that pushed him wide on the forehand Novak all the time in the world to put it away, but he went to near side of Thiem, who scrambled back for the return. Then, Thiem ran across for a backhand pass attempt and Novak responded with by netting the volley.  Two aces to close the first game.

 

LIVE UPDATES

Djokovic wins the toss and he will serve first.

Next in, the seven-time AO and the defending champion, Novak Djokovic.

First up, from Austria, Dominic Thiem.

The players are making their way out for the summit clash.

 

Head-to-Head

Novak Djokovic 6 - 4 Dominic Thiem

Last meeting: 2019 ATP Finals: Thiem beat Djokovic (5)6-7, 6-3, 7-6(5)

Head-to-head on Outdoor Hard: Djokovic leads 2-0 to Thiem

(2016 Miami Masters- 6-3, 6-4)

(2014 Shanghai Masters- 6-3, 6-4)

 

The current world No. 2 Novak Djokovic has never lost an Australian Open final and with the kind of form he has been this year, including winning the ATP Cup with Serbia, he will start as the favourite. Dominic Thiem is all set to take to the court for the first time in an Australian Open final and the third time in a Grand Slam final.

 

 

Both players have had contrasting runs to the big final at this year. Novak has only dropped one set on his way to hi eighth Australian Open final.  His only real hiccup, if you want to call it that, was in the first set against Federer, but the Serb bailed himself out to take the first and the next two.

On the other hand, Thiem had to battle over four hours in the quarters against Nadal and for over three hours in the semis against Zverev to get to the summit clash.

 

Total time spent on court so far:

Djokovic- 12 hours, 29 minutes

Thiem- 18 hours, 15 minutes

 

 

ROAD TO THE FINAL

Novak Djokovic: (World No.2)

Round 1: beat Jan-Lennard Struff Struff – 7-6(5), 6-2, 2-6, 6-1

Round 2: beat Tatsuma Ito- 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Round 3: beat Yoshihito Nishioka– 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Round 4: beat Diego Schwartzman(14) – 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Quarterfinals: beat Milos Raonic(32)  6-4, 6-4, 7-6(1)

Seminfinals: beat Roger Federer(3)- 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-3

 

 

Dominic Thiem: (World No. 5)

Round 1: beat Adrian Mannarino – 6-3, 7-5, 6-2

Round 2 : beat Alex Bolt – 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2

Round 3: beat Taylor Fritz – 6-2, 6-4, (5)6-7 6-4

Round 4 : beat Gael Monfils(10) – 6-2, 6-4, 6-4

Quarterfinals: beat Rafael Nadal(1) - 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(6)

Semifinals: beat Alexander Zverev (7)- 3-6., 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(4)

 

PREVIEW

"King” Novak Djokovic has won all seven Australian Open finals he has contested, he is on a 12-match winning streak and will become world number one if successful in the Melbourne Park decider on Sunday.

Against those overwhelming odds, few are giving Dominic Thiem much of a chance to wrench the title from his iron grip and clinch a maiden Grand Slam.

But the Austrian, remarkably, is the one with the recent edge.

Djokovic is 6-4 in their career head-to-heads, but Thiem has won four of the last five.

Three of those were on his favoured clay, but he also came from a set down to beat the Serb on hardcourts at the ATP Finals in November.

Djokovic is the first to admit that the slick 26-year-old has successfully refined his game over the past 12 months to compete on all surfaces.

And he acknowledges it is just a matter of time before Thiem wins a Slam.

“I don’t think he’s really anymore ‘next generation’ He’s been around for many years. Now already he’s an established top-five, top-10 player,” said Djokovic.

“It’s just a matter of one match here and there that can potentially give him a Grand Slam title, that he can actually get in the mix of top three in the world,” he added.

Despite the platitudes, Djokovic, 32, is banking on adding yet another chapter to his storied Melbourne Park career, and heads into the match with an extra day’s rest after dispatching an injured Roger Federer in his semi-final on Thursday.

The world number two has been firing ever since arriving in Australia a month ago, and was unbeaten over six ATP Cup singles matches as he led Serbia to the inaugural title ahead of the Australian Open.

“Yes, I’m pleased with the way I’ve been feeling and playing. I thought ATP Cup went really well for me, got a lot of hours spent on the court, singles and doubles,” said the 16-time Grand Slam winner.

“Obviously got a lot of positive energy from that competition. I dropped only one set so far up to the finals. Hopefully I’ll be able to perform as well as I always have in the Australian Open finals.”

- ‘It’s his comfort zone’ -

Thiem, who has beaten four seeds to make the grade, including Rafael Nadal in the last eight, is no stranger to Grand Slam finals, making the last two at Roland Garros.

But this is his best effort outside of the French Open.

He lauded Djokovic as the “king of Australia” and insisted his recent successes against him counted for little at the Serb’s favourite tournament.

“It’s true, I won I think more of the last encounters than he did. But I think it doesn’t count so much. It’s absolutely his comfort zone here,” he said.

“He always plays his best tennis in Australia since many, many years. So I’m expecting that as well in the finals.

“All I can do is my best again, play great tennis again, and of course take a look at the last matches we had... try to repeat the good stuff that I did there.”

Despite playing down his chances, Thiem has the weapons to trouble Djokovic.

He is supremely fit and regarded as one of the fastest movers on court, with a one-handed backhand that generates heavy spin and a power-packed forehand.

While the slower clay has always been his preferred surface, beating Federer in the Indian Wells final last year was a turning point for the Austrian on hardcourts.

“That victory gave me so much relief and so much confidence because finally I got my first Masters 1000 title on hardcourt,” he said.

“I made this huge step forward. I really developed my game I think in the right direction.”