Australian Open 2020: Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev, semi-final match preview and prediction
- Can Thiem produce another big win against a more assured-looking Zverev?
An intense encounter that culminated into a battle of grit, Thiem threw everything he had in his arsenal at Nadal, who kept up with the aggression for a large part of the match. It was just too much to handle in the end for the Spaniard as he played uncharacteristically poor tiebreakers.
Do not be mistaken though, Thiem was incredible throughout and it was his surprise aggression that pushed Nadal to the brink. And the Austrian no. 1 will have to do much of the same against his semifinal opponent, Alexander Zverev.
At the beginning of the tournament, it was said that it would take something special from Zverev to have breakthrough at a Slam. And while he hasn't made too many statement wins here, it has been an assemblage of smaller things that have worked in his favour.
For starters, the German had the easiest earlier few rounds from amongst all the seeds. And his unscathed run added to his confidence, which he was building on after a rigourous pre-season. And he looks to be a lot less stressed than his usual self at the Slams. He was recently quoted saying,
I was doing things in a way too professional. I was not talking to anybody. I wasn't going out with friends. I wasn't having dinner. I was just really almost too, too focused.
And building on all of that, Zverev came into his own in the last two matces, delivering confident performances against big names. He built on his set patterns, served impeccably well and has built on that self-belief heading into the last four.
The two men are looking determined, but their level of experience in Grand Slams is largely mismatched. Thiem has play a few semifinals and finals, but what's most interesting is Friday will be the first time where he heads into one as the more experienced higher seed and a favourite to win.
The Austrain has been firing winners off of all wings, his forehand has at times been better than his backhand. But how his game holds up in face of the immense pressure is what will determine his fortunes in all likelihood.
Zverev has a more assured set pattern based on solid serving and there's a cap for the level that he can produce out there. It is Thiem who has surprised many by playing out of skin to get here and he will need to do it one more time to have his big shot in Melbourne.
Prediction: Thiem to win in four close sets.Published 30 Jan 2020, 17:34 IST