'Novak Djokovic played incredible tennis in Melbourne,' says Dominic Thiem
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3179
Novak Djokovic claimed his tenth Australian Open title in January. The Serb overcame an injury and seven opponents to lift a milestone trophy and join Rafael Nadal on 22 Majors. Dominic Thiem praised Djokovic and his level in Melbourne, calling him the favorite at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Novak came to Melbourne with a left leg injury, struggling in the opening three rounds before beating the remaining four rivals in straight sets. Djokovic's team gave its best to treat his injury and make him play at his desired level.
Novak beat Grigor Dimitrov in the third round and looked much better versus Alex de Minaur in the fourth. The Serb took down Andrey Rublev in the quarter-final and entered the familiar territory. Never losing in Melbourne after passing the quarter-final stage, Djokovic gained confidence and pushed strong toward his tenth trophy at Rod Laver Arena.
The Serb beat Tommy Paul in the semi-final, dominating sets two and three and setting the title clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Djokovic and Tsitsipas showed the most during the event, battling for the title and the ATP throne.
Novak delivered a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victory in two hours and 56 minutes, prevailing in the crucial moments and writing history books. Novak broke Stefanos twice and lost serve only once in the third set's early stages. The Greek had a set point on the return at 5-4 in the second set, missing it and finishing runner-up for the second time in the Major finals.
Novak controlled the pace with 36 winners and 22 unforced errors. The Serb earned his victory in the mid-range rallies with five to eight strokes, staying focused for the entire match and extending his incredible run in Australia.
Dominic Thiem praised Novak Djokovic's Australian Open campaign.
A nine-time champion made a convincing start, serving well in the opener and keeping the pressure on the other side. Tsitsipas defended two break points in the second game to avoid an early setback before hitting a double fault at 1-2 to fall behind.
Djokovic brought the set home with a booming serve in game nine, opening a 6-3 lead after 36 minutes. Stefanos produced six comfortable holds in the second set and created a set point at 5-4. Novak denied it with a forehand down the line winner, and the set went into a tie break.
Djokovic forged a 4-1 advantage before Tsitsipas climbed back to 4-4. The Greek missed an easy forehand in the ninth point and placed a backhand long in the next one to offer the Serb two set points. Novak fired a service winner to wrap up the breaker 7-4 and build a massive advantage.
Djokovic took a bathroom break and lost his focus for a moment. Tsitsipas broke him at the start of the third set before losing serve a few minutes later. They served well in the upcoming games, with no room for errors for Stefanos at 4-5.
He landed two winners ar 30-30 and introduced another tie break with a fine hold at 5-6. Novak grabbed two early mini-breaks and raced into a 5-0 lead, using his vast experience and the advantage from the previous sets. The Serb lost the following three points before creating three match points with a forehand down the line winner at 5-3.
Stefanos denied the first two with brave hitting and reduced the deficit to 6-5. Novak sealed the deal on his third match point to emerge at the top and write history. "Novak's level in Melbourne was incredible, and he must be the favorite in London and New York.
Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev can beat anybody when they play well, which makes things more exciting," Dominic Thiem said.