Either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev will make a first Australian Open final when the pair square off in the semi-finals on Friday night.
Dominic Thiem ?? vs Alexander Zverev ?? Match Info
Date: Friday January 31
Tournament: Australian Open SF
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 7.30pm local time (8.30am GMT)
Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev Head-to-Head
Thiem leads 6-2
2019 | ATP Finals SF | Thiem 7-5 6-3
2018 | French Open QF | Thiem 6-4 6-2 6-1
2018 | Madrid Final | Zverev 6-4 6-4
2017 | Rotterdam R32 | Thiem 3-6 6-3 6-4
2016 | Beijing R32 | Zverev 4-6 6-1 6-3
2016 | French Open R32 | Thiem 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 6-3
2016 | Nice Final | Thiem 6-4 3-6 6-0
2016 | Munich SF | Thiem 4-6 6-2 6-3
Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev Match Preview
A fresh face will contest the Australian Open final on Sunday as fifth seed Thiem and seventh seed Zverev clash in their first semi-final at Melbourne Park.
With his significant improvement on hardcourt over the last 12 months, Thiem was expected to challenge World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Wednesday night’s quarter-final, but the Austrian went one better, conquering the 19-time Grand Slam champion for the first time at a major in a spectacular performance. Thiem came from a break down in the first and second sets to win them in a tiebreak, and once he took a two-set lead, it was always going to be tough for Nadal to mount a comeback, with the Spaniard failing to recover from two sets down since 2007.
Nadal almost pulled it off however, digging out the third set and then breaking Thiem as the Austrian served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth. For all money it appeared as if Nadal was going to mirror rival Roger Federer and pull off a miracle escape act, especially after Thiem squandered two match points from 6-4 in the tiebreak with nervous errors. However, Thiem was able to regroup and muscle down, getting the ball back in play on his third match point on Nadal’s serve, and ultimately the top seed gave him an error and the match as he prevailed by a 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(6) scoreline.
“It’s amazing to beat the current World No. 1, Rafa, such a legend… It’s a very special victory for me,” said Thiem.
“It was just an unbelievable match, like an epic one, four hours and 10 minutes. I think on a very high level from both of us. That’s what I’m most happy about. Also, of course, that I’m for the first time in the semis of Australian Open.”
It’s been an excellent Australian Open for Thiem, who has also had to deal with the mid-tournament split with Austrian legend Thomas Muster, who had only just entered into his coaching setup. The partnership didn’t end well by all reports, but Thiem has only gotten better as the event has gone on, in particular after coming back from two-sets-to-one down against wildcard Alex Bolt in the second round – a match he very well could have lost if the Australian didn’t start cramping up in the fifth.
— Dominic Thiem (@ThiemDomi) January 29, 2020
Thiem making the semi-finals in Melbourne isn’t surprising in the slightest though – he made considerable strides on hardcourt in 2019, winning titles in Indian Wells, Vienna and Beijing and finishing runner-up at the ATP Finals. The Austrian’s record against the ‘Big Three’ since the start of 2019 is also incredible – he’s 7-3 with a 3-0 record over Federer, 2-1 record over Djokovic and 2-2 record with Nadal.
Thiem is looking like a man building towards a mission in Melbourne – can he record his seventh win over Zverev to make the final?
While Thiem was somewhat expected to beat Nadal and reach this stage, the same can’t be said at all for Zverev, who came into this tournament as somewhat of an afterthought following his terrible ATP Cup campaign to start the season, where he lost all three of his singles matches for Germany in Brisbane and suffered from an alarming case of the yips on serve.
Zverev’s first round win over Marco Cecchinato was also far from convincing, and perhaps sensing that, he announced he would be donating all of his prize money to bushfire relief if he ended up winning the Australian Open title. However, Zverev has improved with every passing match in Melbourne, snapping the 15-match winning streak of Andrey Rublev in the fourth round and bouncing back superbly from dropping his first set of the tournament against 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, taking the next three easily to win in four, 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2. To his immense credit, Zverev said he would be keeping his promise of donating the AU$4 million if he goes on to win the Australian Open.
“Of course, if I win the AU$4 million, it’s a lot of money for me. I’m not Roger [Federer], I’m not LeBron James, something like that. This is still big. But at the same time, I know that there’s people right now in this country, in this beautiful country, that lost their homes and actually they need the money. They actually depend on it, building up their homes again, building up the nature that Australia has, the animals as well. I think there’s much better use for those people with that money than I have right now.”
It’s an amazing gesture from Zverev, who really seems to have found a balance in his life – and it’s all coming together this fortnight in Melbourne. The 22-year-old says he has taken a more relaxed approach to the Australian Open – while also declaring the little expectation stemming from his ATP Cup form has helped ease the pressure.
— Alexander Zverev (@AlexZverev) January 29, 2020
“I’ve done well at other tournaments. I’ve won [three] ATP Masters 1000s and the [2018 Nitto] ATP Finals,” said Zverev. “But the Grand Slams were always the weeks where I kind of even wanted it too much. I was doing things in a way too professional. I was not talking to anybody. I wasn’t going out with friends. I wasn’t having dinner. I was just really almost too focused.
“I changed that a little bit this week. I’m doing much more things outside the court. I also was playing that bad at ATP Cup that I didn’t have any expectations. I wasn’t really expecting myself [to be] in the semi-finals or quarter-finals. Maybe this is a stepping-stone. Maybe this is how it should happen. We’ll see how it goes now in two days’ time.”
Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev Prediction
This is an extremely tough one to predict. I think Thiem has been playing the better tennis in his last two matches, but I wonder how much the physical and mental energy burned in his four-hour triumph over Nadal will affect him coming into the semi-finals. Zverev is fresh, only dropped one set all tournament and wasn’t really tested at all against Wawrinka. Thiem’s match against Nadal also finished after midnight and he didn’t get to bed until around 5.00am. It’s really hard to go against Thiem after watching what he did against Nadal, but I think Zverev is in a great place right now – this could be the German’s moment to shine at a Grand Slam, ironically at a time when none of us expected it.