Novak Djokovic remained the ultimate champion of the Australian Open after winning his 8th title at Melbourne today.
Djokovic’s Epic Rally
After more than four hours, Djokovic defeated Dominic Thiem with 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Although being on the verge of losing his first Australian Open finals, the Serbian player once again displayed a fantastic mental strength, coming back from behind.
Djokovic was lost, confused, but above all, angry. He was furious at the fans, the chair umpire, and upon himself for allowing to reach such a position at an important stage match. Novak would violate the time between the end of the point and the serve of the next, twice in a row. That forced the chair umpire Damien Dumusois to warn him, and after that, to take him the service and award the point to Thiem.
Everything would be fine if it wasn’t the break-point at 4-4, which gave the Austrian a pretty big advantage. Immediately following this, world No.5 took the second set to level the score at 1-1.
Instead of focusing on the game, Djokovic was arguing with the Dumusois, probably being frustrated because of the fact that he was the first player at the entire tournament who received such a penalty. On the other side, Thiem used all this and swiftly trashed the Serb in the third sequence turning the result upside down.
The start of the fourth set saw the 32-year old veteran regaining his game, and in the eighth game of that set, he finally broke Thiem’s serve to strike back. He sensed that the rival is slowing down, and really Thiem’s superb tennis was only visible occasionally.
Whether it was Djokovic’s much better performance, the reason for that, or something else, we can’t quite tell, but it tide had changed.
In the third game of the final set, Djokovic broke Thiem once again, then defended his serve in the very next play. After that, it was all a routine for the biggest of all at Melbourne Park.
Novak’s Return to No.1
Since this Monday, Novak is coming back to the top of the ATP rankings. He will have 9.720 points, which is 325 more than the second-placed Rafael Nadal.
Also, Djokovic doesn’t have too many tournaments where he defends points in the early months of this season. And even if he does, those amounts are minimal.
This was Novak’s eighth Australian Open. He has a perfect score in the finals here, and currently holds the record of the tournament when looking at the number of titles. Behind him are Roger Federer and Roy Emerson with six.
What is important for him, too, is that he became only the third player in history who has eight trophies at one Grand Slam. The other two are Nadal and Federer at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, respectively.
As for Thiem, this was his third Grand Slam finals and another loss. Following two defeats to Nadal in Paris, he lost against another member of the big three.
However, his improvement is massive when comparing the performances a year ago, and right now, he stands as the only player who might interrupt Nadal’s and Novak’s reign in the upcoming year.