That’s because a German tournament referee, Soeren Friemel, bounced world No.1 and big favorite Djokovic in the fourth round for accidentally hitting a tennis ball that hit a linesman.
Thiem spat German in a rant in the third set after slipping over a wet patch on the pitch. He was already nursing a bald ankle. He recovered and managed a slight surprise against Russian Daniel Medvedev 6-2, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) in the semi-final on Friday night.
It’s a rematch of the Australian Open semi-finals last January when the Austrian won a four-set match, topped by two consecutive tiebreakers.
“We have a great rivalry, a great friendship,” said Thiem, second seed.
No Austrian had ever participated in the final of the Open. The only Austrian to have won a Grand Slam event was Thomas Muster at the 1995 French Open.
Zverev is also in his first Grand Slam final, following his comeback against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who was on the pitch when Djokovic got thrown.
Zverev, the great-serving German, had never won a game when he was 0-2. He finally did it at the perfect time, rallying to win a bizarre five-set. No German has won the Open since Boris Becker in 1989.
The final will pit the monster service against the monster groundstrokes. Thiem’s forehand was lethal early on and he rocked a sprained ankle to hold back Medvedev, who made the Open final last year.
Thiem was superb in a tiebreaker in the second set, winning a 33-stroke rally and hitting a forehand winner at the set point. But after the second set he needed treatment, fell behind on a break in the third set before rallying and winning a strong 7-5 tiebreaker.
Zverev was sinking into the abyss after two consecutive double faults saw him punch a 0-3 hole in the second set. Then he fell further, broke again to follow track 0-5.
“I was actually looking at the scoreboard when I lost two sets to love, and I can’t believe it,” Zverev said. “I’m playing in the semifinals, where I’m supposed to be the favorite and I lost two sets to love, and I’m out of luck, I’m playing so poorly.
Zverev’s final tally was 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 6-3 in a stunning turnaround at 3:30.
Carreno Busta was so in control on the fragile Zverev on Friday that in the second set he had just three unforced errors compared to Zverev’s 19 in that frame.
Zverev looked dead in the water against a tough opponent who hadn’t lost a set in the entire tournament as he was seeded 20th. Zverev’s rep is his giant first serve which hit 136 mph but too many holes exist on his backhand and second serve.
Carreno Busta used all of his crafty weapons – low shots, spins and a heavy, steady topspin forehand to dominate the first two sets. But the 6-foot-5 Zverev didn’t quit, going three straight sets and claiming a victory.
His serve became a genius and he started getting more second serves.
He lost just seven points on his serve in the last three sets.
“I didn’t score enough points on the second serve,” said the German. “I had to change something and be more aggressive. “