6:40 pm: With the title, Novak DJokovic becomes the first man in the Open era to win Grand Slam titles in three different decades!
6.33 pm: The champion and the runner-up!
6.33 pm: “It wasn’t meant to be tonight but you were definitely close to winning it. Am sure you will win one in the future. Am sure, you will win more than one,” said Djokovic.
6.24 pm: “I fell a little short today but I hope I can get revenge sooner,” said Thiem. A round of thanks to everyone.
Djokovic beats Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
At times in the match, Djokovic looked like he was totally out of it but he, as he has so many times before, found a way to win.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
DJOKOVIC WINS HIS 8th AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Thiem starts the game with a wonderful inside-in forehand to win the first point. A good serve makes it 15-15. But then a long forehand followed by a down-the-line backhand that went wide gave Djokovic two championship points. And that was all Djokovic needed. Once again, he is the last man standing. Champion again. And when the rankings come out, he will be world no 1 too.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 5-4
Thiem holds. Djokovic will have to serve this out. If he can, he will win the Australian Open for the 8th time.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 5-3
Thiem won a 28-shot spellbinding rally to start the game – it had everything including a net cord before Djokovic put a forehand into the net. And then suddenly it was 15-30. Thiem had a chance. A good first serve helped Djokovic make it 30-30 and then another good serve, under pressure, made it 40-30. And finally, another good serve gave him the game. Big hold. Every game is a big hold now. Thiem will serve to stay in the match.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 4-3
An almighty fight. Thiem in charge and then Djokovic fights back. Then Thiem moves ahead, then Djokovic pulls him back. Back and fro, hard to pick a winner. Djokovic feeling better but we have seen this match flip on its head so many times already. Big hold for Thiem.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 4-2
A love hold! No pressure. How well has Djokovic served in the fifth set?
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 3-2
For the first time in the match, it looks like Thiem is tiring but he holds on. He needed too. He was leading 40-15 but Djokovic made him fight hard once again.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 3-1
Suddenly Thiem is missing shots he was so making easily. Lots of unforced errors and then just as suddenly, he raised his level to earn a break point. This is a roller coaster ride if there ever was one. Then, Thiem got another break point but Djokovic saved it by serving and volleying and then, Thiem sent a backhand long. Huge hold. The Serb consolidates the break.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 2-1
DJOKOVIC GETS THE BREAK!
Djokovic got the first break point in the fifth and he needed just one. Thiem looking like he is running out of gas suddenly. The pressure of the moment getting to him?
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 1-1
Djokovic with a hold to love. The earlier sets don’t matter anymore. This is all about winning one set now. Impressive start to the set.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 0-1
Good hold for Thiem. He needed this. One bad game cost him the fourth game. He will want to avoid that at all costs. A bit of an advantage for him to be serving first.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3
A roller coaster ride. Here we go. The fifth set is ready to begin. Thiem to serve.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3
DJOKOVIC TAKES THE FOURTH SET!
It seemed impossible for a while but Djokovic has taken us to the fifth and deciding set. The ebbs and flows of the game.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 5-3
DJOKOVIC GETS THE BREAK!
A Thiem UE followed by a wonderful forehand return made it 15-30. And then a double fault made it 15-40. A wide serve helped him save the first one. But then a forehand that went long gave the Serb the game. The battle, at long last, has been joined again.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 4-3
Quick game. Easy hold. Just what Djokovic needed. This will allow him to once again pile the pressure on the Thiem serve.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 3-3
Thiem holds! Djokovic had him under pressure but Thiem just stays in the moment, keeps going for the shots. This is how he has always played, he isn’t changing.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 3-2
Djokovic holds to love. He looks like he is working his way back into the match, moving a little better and looking confident too. Here we go. Can he take this to five?
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 2-2
Thiem isn’t letting up. His backhand is firing. He is keeping the points short. Right now, Djokovic has no answer to this. Everyone keeps thinking Djokovic will come back into this match but will Thiem let him?
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 2-1
Thiem had a break point but Djokovic saved it with a nice volley and then a net cord gave him the game. He is still there. He is still hanging in there. Finally, the tennis gods give him something.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 1-1
A lucky net cord and an error gave Thiem a 30-0 lead. Then, he held without any problem. The Austrian needs to keep going for his shots.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 1-0
Djokovic starts the fourth set with a hold. He seems to have more energy and he seems to be going for the lines and corners a bit more. Let’s see how this goes.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6
Djokovic has gone off the court. We haven’t been told that this is a medical timeout yet. 30 times Thiem has been up 2 sets to 1 and he has lost just twice. Djokovic, on the other hand, is 0-7 in Grand Slam finals when 2 sets to 1 down.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6
THIEM TAKES THE THIRD SET!
Four deuces! But then Thiem finally took the game and the set. Djokovic looked like he was trying something different. Can Djokovic find a way back into the match or will Thiem take this in four?
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-5
Good hold for Djokovic. Thiem will have to serve this out. Things can change very quickly but the Austrian has looked like he is control at the moment.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 1-5
Thiem with a love hold. Djokovic isn’t on top of his game but Thiem isn’t letting up at all. The world no 2 needs to find some inspiration here.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 1-4
Djokovic with an easy hold. But he now has called for a trainer.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 0-4
Once again, Djokovic put pressure on Thiem but the Serb has just not been able to break down the Austrian. Thiem seems to always find a way.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 0-3
Another Djokovic double fault made it 0-30. But then he just wasn’t able to do the right things. A forehand error gave the game to Thiem. He just looks like he is struggling big time. He looks like he has run out of energy. Part of it is Djokovic and the other part is the level that Thiem is playing out. This is sublime tennis from the Austrian. This match has been turned on its head.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 0-2
Djokovic took it to 0-30 before a backhand error allowed Thiem to make it 15-30. Then, an incredible drop shot got Djokovic a break point but not for the first time tonight, Thiem found a way to hold on.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 0-1
THIEM GETS THE BREAK!
Djokovic started the third set with a double fault. Then, won a 21-shot rally as Thiem sent a down the line backhand long. But the Serb is clearly irritated... maybe even annoyed. But then, the down-the-line forehand gave Thiem another break point. But Djokovic somehow managed to make it deuce after an error from Thiem in a point the Austrian had dominated. Thiem, however, had the final laugh as Djokovic sent a backhand wide.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-6
Amazing ball-striking by Thiem made it 40-0. And then a wide backhand handed the set over to the Austrian. We are one-set all. Anyone dare pick a winner? 13 unforced errors for Djokovic in the set as against 7 winners. For Thiem, 13 winners and 11 unforced errors... he made the plays. 49 minutes for the set.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 4-5
Thiem breaks again.
A 29-shot rally gave Djokovic the first point and then a sizzling down-the-line Thiem forehand winner made it 15-15. High-level tennis on display. An attempted drop shot went into the net to give Thiem two set points. He also got two-time violations on his serve, the second one forcing him to have only a second serve on set point.
At the changeover, Djokovic to the chair umpire: “You made yourself famous, man, well done.”
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 4-4
Thiem isn’t overawed at all right now. He is going for his shots and believing. But Djokovic found a way to make it 40-40 and then another unforced error gave the Serb a break point. Finally, another down the line backhand that went wide gave Djokovic the break back. WE ARE BACK ON SERVE.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 3-4
Easy hold for Djokovic. Keeps his spirits up. Thiem needs to be careful here though, this is when Djokovic will look to make his move.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 2-4
30-30 and the real game began. A double fault gave Djokovic a break point. But an awesome inside out forehand winner made it 40-40 and a good serve gave him advantage. Another UE gave the game to Thiem. Meanwhile, the crowd cheering for Thiem is irritating Djokovic here.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 2-3
Good hold for Djokovic, should give him some confidence again. His level seems to have fallen off a little from the lofty standards he set early in the first set.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 1-3
Thiem consolidates the break with an easy hold. He is doing it all at the moment – good movement, good groundstrokes and believing in himself.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 1-2
Thiem gets the break as Djokovic double faults, he leads 2-1. Djokovic now seems to be doubting himself a little. Thiem, meanwhile, continues to go for his shots and that has put the Serb under a lot of pressure. Djokovic’s serve speed is down as well.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4, 1-1
Easy hold for Thiem. Two backhand errors while returning the serve. Djokovic fought very hard for a couple of points there but still ended up losing them.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 6-4, 1-0
A beautiful drop shot, a backhand down the line. Djokovic has started the second set well. Thiem needs to continue going for his shots to have any chance in this this.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4
The first set took 52 minutes.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 6-4
FIRST SET TO DJOKOVIC
Two unforced errors made it 0-30. But then Djokovic sent a return long off the second serve to make it 15-30. Thiem made it 30-30 but then sent a forehand long to hand a set point to Djokovic. But then some brave and charismatic play got Thiem the advantage. The Serb, however, didn’t go away. He fought back to get another set point and the Austrian committed a double fault to hand the game and the set to the world No 2.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 5-4
It was looking one-sided just a few minutes back but Djokovic is now having to work much harder on his point. Thiem is in this now. Djokovic holds. Thiem will serve to stay in the set.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 4-4
Djokovic had a breakpoint but Thiem has now found his rhythm. His groundstrokes are finally hurting Djokovic. This is what the crowd wanted. This is what everyone wanted. Well, everyone up Djokovic.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 4-3
A wonderful crosscourt forehand gave Thiem two breakpoints. And a backhand into the net from Djokovic gave him the gave. Break back. We are back on serve!
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 4-2
Thiem was 40-0 up and then Djokovic somehow made it deuce again. There are no easy games. The Serb made the Austrian fight for it before Thiem finally held on.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 4-1
While Thiem’s serving games have been a struggle, Djokovic has breezed through his. His accuracy with the backhand has been pinpoint.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 3-1
Thiem is finally on the board. It was 40-40, Djokovic in complete command and Thiem came up with a wonderful lob to get the advantage. He sealed the game off the next point. This should calm the nerves. Djokovic’s movement so far has been unreal.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 3-0
Djokovic consolidates the break with some ease. Thiem needs to wake up here and shake the nerves off. To get an idea of how well he has been serving in this tournament, check out this stat: there have been only 18 breakpoints on his serve all tournament. 45 breakpoints on Thiem’s serve through the tournament.
Djokovic vs *Thiem: 2-0
Thiem had his serve working well. No sign of nerves. He was up 40-15. Then Djokovic got it to deuce in an instant. Then, it went to another two deuces. Before Djokovic conjured up a break point with some great movement and touch. And then an unforced error gave the Serb the break. Thiem served 75% of his first serves in the game and he still got broken.
*Djokovic vs Thiem: 1-0
Djokovic has been serving well in the tournament and having Goran Ivanisevic as part of his team has certainly helped. Holds with two aces to close the game.
2.13 pm: And this is what they are playing for...
2.11 pm: Thiem has spent 6 more hours on court. Will that be a factor today?
2.09 pm: The players are on court and warming up now. Right time to vote in our poll:
2.08 pm: This promises to be an almighty battle between Novak Djokovic, who has won all 7 of his finals here, and Dominic Thiem, who’s won 4 of their last 5 matches.
2.05 pm: Just how good has Djokovic been at Melbourne Park?
2.05 pm: Is this result possible?
2.02 pm: Hmm, hmm, hmm.
1.58 pm: Are you ready?
1.57 pm: Almost time. Marat Safin makes an appearance.
1.54 pm: No currently active man under 30 has ever won a Grand Slam. Will Thiem be able to change that today? That is the big question of everyone’s minds.
1.30 pm: Hello all and welcome to the live coverage of the first Major final of the new decade where Dominic Thiem has to achieve what has never been accomplished in men’s tennis before: to beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open.
As you wait for the game to start, here’s a quick preview:
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) v Dominic Thiem (AUT x5)
Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 6-4
Djokovic: Age - 32; World ranking - 2; Prize money - $140,228,279; Career titles - 77; Grand Slam titles - 16; Australian Open best - Winner (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019)
Djokovic routinely rates the Australian Open as his favourite Grand Slam and Rod Laver Arena is without question his most successful court, with a record seven titles to his name. Perhaps the best returner in the game, he has dropped just one set en route to the final and is firm favourite to win a 17th Grand Slam and extend his 2020 win streak to 13 matches.
Thiem: Age - 26; World ranking - 5; Prize money - $22,406,618; Career titles - 16; Grand Slam titles - 0; Australian Open best - Final (2020)
The Austrian is best known as a clay-court specialist, making the last two French Open finals where he was beaten by Rafael Nadal. A baseliner with a one-handed backhand, he came through a tough five-setter in round three and showed his class by upsetting Nadal in the last eight. Coached by former world number nine Nicolas Massu, he signalled his intentions by winning five titles last year.
(With AFP inputs)