Melbourne, Feb 2: Novak Djokovic defended his Australian Open crown and won a 17th Grand Slam after beating Dominic Thiem in a gripping five-set final, here on Sunday.
The Serbian star fought back to beat fifth-seeded Austrian Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 over four hours for a record-extending eighth title at Melbourne Park. Only Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) have won more Grand Slam titles in the sport’s history. After this win, Djokovic will make his return to No 1 in the ATP Rankings while Thiem, 26, still awaits his first major title after losing a third Grand Slam final. "I would like to start by saying congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament," said Djokovic, during the on-court ceremony.
"It wasn’t meant to be tonight. Tough luck and it was a tough match, but you were very close to winning it and you definitely have a lot more time in your career and I’m sure that you will get one of the Grand Slam trophies. More than one." Djokovic extended his match record to a perfect 13-0 in the 2020 ATP Tour season, which includes helping Team Serbia clinch the inaugural ATP Cup trophy, with victory in his 26th major final (17-9). He had earned the 900th tour-level match win of his career against Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round at Melbourne Park. Thiem, who had beaten Djokovic in four of their past five ATP Head2Head meetings coming into the final, won six straight games from 4-4 in the second set (when Djokovic received a time violation) to 4-0 in the third set of his third major championship final. Thiem looked in control of the match until 3-4 in the fourth set, when it turned in Djokovic’s favour after Thiem struck a forehand drop volley in the net that would have given the Austrian a 30/0 lead. (UNI)