Dominic Thiem, who’ll play in the Australian Open final, hits the ball like it’s a piñata: with the clear intent to destroy it, and with his eyes emphatically closed. (Consult a slow-mo if you’re skeptical about the last bit.) This has worked well enough for him, at least on clay, but something about the approach was unconvincing. I didn’t believe in him as a player until, suddenly, at the 2018 U.S. Open, I very much did. The blind power was beginning to develop a brain.

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