Dominic Thiem: 'Novak Djokovic and I played epic Melbourne final'

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Dominic Thiem: 'Novak Djokovic and I played epic Melbourne final'

World no. 3 Dominic Thiem is eager to chase more Major titles in 2021 following a successful last year's campaign. The Austrian lost the first three Major finals to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic before conquering the US Open last September, performing a marvelous comeback against Alexander Zverev to lift the first Major trophy.

Dominic will endure a two-week quarantine in Adelaide with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, facing the greatest rivals in the exhibition encounters before they fly to Melbourne. Mentioning the last year's Australian Open final, Dominic said that he and Novak played an epic match that went down to the wire.

Novak struggled in the third set and recovered in the early stages of the fourth to get back on the positive side and score a 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph, adding the 17th Major trophy to his tally and moving closer to Federer and Nadal.

Djokovic won ten points more, forced more Dominic's errors and hit fewer unforced mistakes, although all the numbers were mighty close in a tight four-hour battle. Nothing could separate two great rivals in the mid-range exchanges, while the Serb had a slim advantage in the shortest and most advanced rallies to forge the triumph.

Thiem got broken in the first game and recovered his game soon after that to pull it back at 2-4 to stay in touch. The Serb grabbed another break at 5-4 when the Austrian hit a double fault to take the first set. Unlike the opener, Thiem was more focused in the second set's closing moments, earning a break at 15 at 4-4 and securing it with a hold at 15 to level the score at.

Novak Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem in five sets in Melbourne 2020.

Carried by this momentum, the Austrian raced into a 4-0 lead in set number three, flying over the court against the rival who was far from his best and moving a set away from a Major title.

With no room for errors, Djokovic survived a break chance in the fourth set's third game and took 12 of the last 15 points to rattle off three straight games at 3-3 and gain a massive boost ahead of the decider, feeling much better and looking determined to fight for the trophy.

The Serb broke the Austrian at 1-1 and fended off two break opportunities in the next one to forge a 3-1 advantage. With his back pushed against the wall, Dominic held after deuce in game five to linger within one break deficit.

Thiem repelled a break point at 2-4 with a service winner and closed the game with another powerful serve to remain in touch. Novak produced a service winner in game eight to keep his advantage and forced the rival to serve for staying in the match at 3-5.

Showing no signs of nerves, Thiem held at 15 when Djokovic sprayed a backhand mistake, reducing the deficit to 4-5. Dominic opened the tenth game with a backhand down the line winner before Novak took charge to bring it home and seal the deal, celebrating the 17th Major title at 32.