Novak Djokovic edged out Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 to secure his 8th Australian Open title and 17th grand slam title.
For the first time in his career, Novak Djokovic came back from 2 sets to 1 down in a grand slam final as he denied Dominic Thiem a first grand slam title.
The Serb lacked energy in the middle of the match but ultimately played his best tennis when it mattered as he made history once again.
As well as winning an 8th Australian Open title and 17th grand slam title, Djokovic will also return to world number one on Monday.
Looking for his 8th Australian Open title, Djokovic made an emphatic start as he rushed Thiem into errors from the back of the court.
The Austrian looked to take the match to Djokovic using his power but wasn’t allowed to implement that in the early exchanges as some impressive defence saw the Serb blast his way into a 3-0 lead.
However Thiem, who was into his 3rd grand slam final, started to find some rhythm and denied the red-hot Djokovic a double break lead.
This would cost Djokovic as the 5th seed finally found his fire-power that was missing in the opening five games as some stunning backhand winners gave him the break back in the 7th game.
Eventually though, Thiem got tight and nervous when serving to stay in the set and a costly double fault handed the 7-time Australian Open champion the opening set.
Although he didn’t show his best tennis in the opening set, Thiem bounced back in the second set with some powerful and smart retuning. This time it was Djokovic’s turn to double fault on break point down as the Austrian sealed the early break.
There was more tightness from Thiem in the latter stages of the set as he pushed too aggressively and Djokovic started to improve his level.
Even though the break back was secured, the world number two lost his concentration when called for two time violations in the game, which led to a loss of first serve and loss of game as well.
As Djokovic continued to share his anger with Damien Dumusois, Thiem held convincingly to level the match at one set all.
The moment pic.twitter.com/WjNHbF6bHC
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 2, 2020
There was a momentum shift in the Austrian’s favour at the start of the third set as the Serb started to look physically drained.
Two quick breaks was sealed from Thiem who powered his shots past the tame Djokovic defence as a 4-0 lead was secured.
Despite some late resilience from Djokovic, it was all about the Austrian who was now a set away from his first grand slam title.
After an off-court medical time-out, the second seed started to look in better shape and became more solid as he looked to force a fifth set.
As both players started to play confidently on serve, something had to give in terms of players’ level and that is exactly what happened in the eighth game.
The Austrian’s level dipped which produced four unforced errors in a crucial service game. Just like all great champions, Djokovic pounced breaking serve and keeping his cool to seal the fourth set 6-3. This Australian Open final was going five sets.
Another few costly unforced errors cost Thiem to start the fifth set as Djokovic sealed the early break for 2-1 as he was closing in on history.
There were a few opportunities for the Austrian to break back but the pressure told when it really mattered as he couldn’t find his way past an unstoppable Novak Djokovic.
After 4 hours and 3 minutes, Djokovic secured a 17th grand slam title and an 8th Australian Open title to continue setting records in tennis.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) February 2, 2020
In the trophy ceremony, both Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic praised each other’s achievements, “Huge congrats to Novak. Unreal what you are doing throughout all these years. You and two other guys have brought men’s tennis to a new level, I’m really proud I can compete in this time and period of tennis,” Thiem said.
“Congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament. It wasn’t to be tonight. You were very close to win it, you have a lot of time in your career to get one of the Grand Slam trophies,” Djokovic added.
It also means that the big three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will win the next 13 grand slam titles.