Novak Djokovic Beats Dominic Thiem in Thrilling 2020 Australian Open Final

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2020

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 02: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning championship point after his Men's Singles Final against Dominic Thiem of Austria on day fourteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 02, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic produced a fantastic comeback to win his eighth Australian Open title on Sunday, beating Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic started the match the stronger player, although Thiem was able to gradually exert his authority on the contest, recovering well after losing the first set to level things up.

After moving ahead with some dominant play, the Austrian appeared on course for a four-set win, although Djokovic dug deep to recover, taking the match to a deciding stanza.

In it, the second seed secured an early break and went on to clinch his 17th Grand Slam title, putting him just three behind Roger Federer's record men's haul of 20.

Here is the moment Djokovic got over the line:

#AusOpen @AustralianOpen

The king has returned 👑 After almost four hours, @DjokerNole def. Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 to claim his eighth Australian Open crown. #AO2020 | #AusOpen https://t.co/EJOKBy040s

#AusOpen @AustralianOpen

"This is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together more than ever." Words of wisdom from eight-time #AusOpen champion, @DjokerNole. #AO2020 https://t.co/b2yrSfW6IG

Thiem got off to the worst possible start with a nervy opening service game. The fifth seed quickly found himself 3-0 down, although midway through the set there were signs he was settled. He was able to break Djokovic and claw his way back to parity at 4-4, looking like a completely different player.

But at this point, the defending champion found another gear, starting the next game with this brilliant point:

Eurosport UK @Eurosport_UK

UNRELENTING TENNIS! 👏 Simply sensational from both Thiem and Djokovic 🇦🇺 Watch the #AusOpen final LIVE 📺 Eurosport 1 📱💻🖥 Eurosport Player: https://t.co/0Fa7uXMVB9 https://t.co/x7WI7H9WcH

After holding serve, Djokovic got his teeth into the Thiem serve. Thiem was clearly edgy at this point too, with a number of mistakes costing him the game and ultimately the set.

The Tennis Podcast commented on how ruthless Djokovic is in Melbourne when he does get ahead:

The Tennis Podcast @TennisPodcast

First set Djokovic 6-4 He’s 66-1 at the #AusOpen after winning the first set. His only loss was the 2014 QF vs Wawrinka. The last time Djokovic and Thiem played, Thiem won from a set down. #AusOpen

However, he was unable to maintain those levels, with Thiem taking it to him in the second set.

He broke early, only to be pegged back by a pumped-up Djokovic later on. At 4-4, it looked as though the Serb would press on again, but his game unexpectedly deserted him. A double-fault on break point handed the break back to Thiem, who went on to win the set.

After such a strong start to the match, errors were creeping in to Djokovic's play:

Simon Cambers @scambers73

After the first five games of the match, Djokovic had made just three errors. Now his unforced error count is up to 33 - and five double faults. Strange to see him perform like this in a slam final - stark contrast to last year's final, too

It got even worse at the start of the third. Thiem was sensing blood from the off in the stanza and struck to break at the first opportunity.

After consolidating, another break followed. At 4-0 down, the usually steely focus of Djokovic had been replaced by a look of dejection. The 32-year-old didn't appear to be all too comfortable out on court, either:

Eleanor Crooks @EleanorcrooksPA

Resigned body language from the defending champ

Thiem went on to win the set 6-3, and suddenly the favourite had a mountain to climb, with his form and fitness seemingly deserting him.

Yet from somewhere, Djokovic found extra reserves.

There was more pep in his play at the start of the fourth set. After applying pressure to his opponent's serve throughout the set, Djokovic broke to move 5-3 in front and then served it out to love, setting up a decider.

Per ATP Media Info, when matches go to five sets, Djokovic tends to prevail:

ATP Media Info @ATPMediaInfo

[2] @DjokerNole wins 4th set 6-3 vs [5] @ThiemDomi to level @AustralianOpen championship. #Djokovic has a 30-10 career 5-set record, #Thiem 8-6 in 5-setters. It's 3rd time in last 4 years #AusOpen final going to 5 sets.

With momentum now firmly with him, it didn't take long for Djokovic to get an edge. There were some signs of weariness from Thiem in the third game, as consecutive mistakes gave Djokovic a break point and then the game.

Djokovic had to withstand some pressure on his own serve in the next game, but he was eventually able to consolidate. Despite the best efforts of a diligent Thiem, from there Djokovic served out the match in peerless style.