Dominic Thiem reached his first Australian Open final, beating Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 in three hours and 42 minutes. It was a tight battle from start to finish, with only five points more on the Austrian's tally, playing better in the decisive moments like against Rafael Nadal to stay on the title course, seeking the first Major title after losing the previous two at Roland Garros to Nadal.
The German served at 81% but couldn't use that as he would want it, facing 14 break chances and getting broken five times. On the other hand, he scored four breaks to stay in touch, losing ground in the closing stages of sets three and four to propel the Austrian over the finish line.
Dominic forged a small advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, forcing over 50 mistakes from the younger opponent and staying composed when it mattered the most. Zverev served at a staggering 90% in the opener, suffering an early break but controlling the pace behind the initial shot in the rest of the set and dominating the return for 6-3.
The Austrian netted a backhand in the first game to hand the break to the German, who sprayed a volley error in game two for a break at 15, unable to cement the advantage and keeping Dominic on the positive side of the scoreboard.
They both served well in the next four games, and it was Alexander who pulled the trigger in the closing stages, earning a break at 15 with some fine defense in game seven and sealing the opener with another break in game nine when Thiem netted a backhand.
Reducing the number of errors in set number two, the Austrian had the court's advantage, earning two breaks and surviving a challenging tenth game for 6-4.
Dominic Thiem beat Alexander Zverev in four sets to reach the Melbourne final.
He broke Zverev in the third game following a forehand error from the youngster, who pulled the break back in game six with a smash winner.
Nonetheless, Dominic broke again a few minutes later with a well-constructed attack, opening a 4-3 gap and serving for the set at 5-4, where he fended off two break chances to grab the set with an ace and level the overall score at 1-1.
It was high-quality tennis in the third set, with more winners than unforced errors on both sides and drama and excitement all over the place. Theim forged an early lead with a break in game three that Zverev pulled back at 2-3 thanks to a backhand error from his rival, leveling the score at 3-3 and gathering momentum again.
The German produced three commanding holds by the end of the set and had a massive chance to close it on the return at 5-4, with two set points up for grabs. Thiem stayed focused and repelled those, serving well in the tie break and seizing two mini-breaks for 7-3 with a backhand crosscourt winner in the tenth point that sent him closer to the finish line after two hours and 42 minutes.
The fourth set saw 12 commanding holds and another tie break that Thiem grabbed 7-4 to move over the top and secure the place in the first Australian Open final.