Thiem and Zverev battle for first Aussie final


Dominic Thiem says there are "no secrets" between him Alexander Zverev as they prepare for a battle of "small margins" to make an Australian Open final for the first time, reports AFP.

The fifth seed faces his good friend on Friday after stunning world number one Rafael Nadal in the last eight, with a crack at either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or six-time winner Roger Federer at stake.

Thiem and Zverev have played each other eight times, with the Austrian holding a 6-2 advantage, including their last two encounters. They have never been forced into a five-setter.

"We have no secrets from each other. I mean, we played so many times, also on very special occasions already, at the ATP Finals, semis, French Open quarters," said the 26-year-old. "It's a nice rivalry we have. It's great that we add an Australian Open semi-finals to this one. Going to be a close match again."

"Same if two top-10 players play each other (in the) semis of a Slam. The deciding moments are very small, small margins. I'm looking forward to it," he added. Thiem is better known as a clay-court specialist and has experience of the big time, making the French Open final over the past two years, beaten each time by Nadal.

But this is the furthest he has got on hardcourts at the Majors and knows he is on the cusp of a crack at shattering the stranglehold Djokovic and Federer have had on the tournament, sharing 12 of the last 14 titles.

"One of us is going to be in the finals. But it's still a very long way to go," he said. Seventh seed Zverev has long been tipped for great things, but until now the 22-year-old has failed to deliver at the Majors.

He is into his first Grand Slam semi-final after taking a more relaxed approach, admitting that in the  past he was trying too hard to  make his mark.