DOMINIC THIEM will face Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final on Sunday after the lights went out on Alexander Zverev.
This exhilarating, high-octane three-and-a-half-hour semi-final, which Thiem won 3-6 6-4 7-6 7-6, had to be delayed by ten minutes in the second game of the third set because one of the light bulbs blew on the Rod Laver Arena.
In bizarre scenes, German Zverev stopped playing and complained that he was unable to continue after one of the floodlights had gone out.
The tournament director and even the CEO came on the court to consult with the players and umpire as staff frantically tried to solve the problem behind-the-scenes and presumably call in the nearest electrician.
The crowd did not mind and made the most of the brief break, singing Sweet Caroline and the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive.
The match had already been stopped in the fourth game of the first set because the roof was closed when there were spots of rain incredibly on a day when the temperatures hit 43C degrees.
Zverev might have won the first set but he was in an irritable mood throughout a match that contained some stupendous rallies and shot selections.
The 22-year-old, appearing in his first major semi-final, moaned about the TV screen in the stadium changing his images late.
He was furious with the umpire when one of his serves was called out correctly as it happened and he did not have any challenges left.
The world No7 also received a code violation verbal abuse warning for bad language.
Perhaps it is not surprising he was an increasingly-foul frame of mind given he was unable to convert two set points in the third set and then Thiem took command in the tie-breaker.
All the tantrums played into Thiems hands and despite feeling sick during the match, he closed out the result in style.
The 26-year-old has now booked himself a third Grand Slam final appearance.
Having lost two French Open finals against the King of Clay Nadal, the world No5 will have to do what no man has done before and dethrone the Master of Melbourne and seven-time champ Djokovic on his favourite court.
Thiem said: “I like the [Neil Diamond] song, I felt I was on my Austrian skiing holidays where they play that song all the time.
“I felt some nerves. My stomach was not ready for that match and was rebelling a bit. But it’s all good. Sometimes I have it in close and tough matches.
“It’s unbelievable. I have played Rafa [Nadal] twice in a row. Now Novak here.
“I always play the Kings of these Grand Slams. I will try my best. I have to regenerate perfectly now and get ready.”
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