Alexander Zverevconfirmed his desire to donate the whole prize money, A$4.12 million (£2.11m) to help victims of the Australia wildfires. The German is two wins away from capturing the title — and making such a generous offer to the Bushfire Relief fund. In the second men’s singles semi-final, he will face his friend Dominic Thiem. The winner of this clash, so similar to an all-comer final whose winner challenged the defending champion a long long time ago.
The winner of this match will become the 53rd man in the Open Era, and just the eighth active male singles player to reach the final at the Australian Open. Should either Thiem or Zverev go on to win the title here, they will become the first player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title.
Thiem leads 6-2 in their head to heads and won both of their previous match-ups at the majors, which came at Roland Garros. The Austrian won two of the three meetings on hard-court but Zverev claimed their only previous hard-ourt match that was played outdoors, in the first round at 2016 Beijing.
The No.5 seed bids to defeat four seeded players in a major for the first time. He aims to become the second Austrian player to reach a Grand Slam final behind Thomas Muster who won the title at 1995 Roland Garros.
The No.7 seed could become the third German man to move to the Australian Open final after Boris Becker (1991, 1996) and Rainer Schuettler (2003), who remains the last German finalist in a major.
Zverev, who celebrated his best result at this stage, has never defeated a Top 5 player at a Grand Slam for the first time, having lost to No. 2 Andy Murray in the first round here in 2016 and to No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last year, in his previous matches to such opponents.
In his first five matches here, the Austrian won slightly more first-serve points and it could become a huge factor against the German, who rediscovered his powerful deliveries after the inconsistent performances during the ATP Cup.
Zverev will need to serve hard and go for immediate winners after serve and return, coming often to the net to shorten the points. Thiem has already demonstrated he can counter-attack and use the pace of the ball to dictate play from behind the baseline as he did in those brutal battles against Rafael Nadal. The Roland Garros runner-up seems to have more possible ways to win the point and could maintain a competitive edge on the new slower surface in Melbourne Park. He could be a more dangerous opponent than Zverev for the seven-time champion Djokovic in the final.
Prediction: Thiem in four sets
Zverev & Thiem are scheduled on Rod Laver Arena at 7:30pm (8:30pm GMT)
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