For the third time in their careers, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev will be locking horns on a Grand Slam court. Previously they met twice at Roland-Garros. At Australian Open 2020, it will be their first major meeting on a hard surface. Also their first major semi-final encounter.
In Melbourne, Dominic Thiem played a few challenging matches in the earlier rounds against Alex Bolt and Taylor Fritz. And in the quarterfinals, he took out the defending finalist Rafael Nadal in four tight sets.
Against Rafa, Thiem played some impressive tennis in the tiebreaks. He defeated the Spaniard for the very first time on a Grand Slam court. In Melbourne, Thiem has been playing some attacking tennis and he has been cautiously tackling with his service games.
At Australian Open Zverev has been flawless throughout the tournament. As a consequence, he stormed into his first-ever Grand Slam semifinals. He is well known for committing more than a dozen double faults in a match, but in Melbourne, Sascha collectively committed just 11 double faults. Also, his first serve percentage is almost close to 80 in all his matches at the Aussie Open.
World Number five Thiem has an upper-hand in their head-to-head record. He has just lost twice to Zverev out of the eight times they have met. Speaking about their most recent meeting at ATP Finals 2019, Thiem dethroned the defending champion, Sascha, in straight sets in the semifinals.
Also, the Austrian will be playing his fourth Grand Slam semifinal (but the first one on a hard-court). And for the German its an unexplored zone. Thiem’s past experiences might aid him to dominate the battle against Zverev and later earn his spot in the finals.
However, Zverev won’t be an easy test to clear. His form has been unreal in Melbourne. He just dropped a set against the former champion Stan Wawrinka and before that match, Sascha just dropped five service games in the tournament.
Despite his near-perfect form, Zverev needs to take that extra mile to overcome Thiem. If the Austrian plays with the same level of intensity as it was against Nadal, then things will be difficult for Zverev. And he will be packing his bags from Melbourne after a four-set defeat.
To win against Thiem, Sascha needs to figure out the ways to neutralize Dominic’s single-hand backhands from the baseline.
Last year Thiem was two sets away from making his breakthrough at Slams and Daniil Medvedev was just a few points away. The year 2020 should probably remark the advent of a new Grand Slam champion. In Melbourne, a fit Novak Djokovic is waiting for a NextGen player in the Aussie Open finals. Will there be a new face clinching the Australian crown?