Fourth Thiem lucky: Austrian says first Slam frees him up for more

Tuesday, 15 Sep, 2020

Dominic Thiem has forced a fourth set against Alexander Zverev in the U.S. Open men's final.

Since 2005, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won 13 titles in the Italian capital, standing as the favorite to fight for the crown next Monday, without Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev in the draw.

Instead of wild applause and loud shouts greeting great exchanges, the soundtrack at Arthur Ashe Stadium mainly came from outside the largest court in tennis, courtesy of roaring airplanes, rumbling trains, revving auto engines, honking horns and wailing sirens. It's wonderful how far our journey progressed together to share this moment with you.

"We both didn't face one of the "Big Three", so I guess that was in the back of the head for both of us", Thiem told reporters. We both deserve it. I said to myself, "I'm playing bad, I'm way too tight, legs are heavy, arms are heavy". And then 2016 I think our great rivalry started again and we made great things happen on the court as well as off the court. "I don't know how I'm going to feel the next days".

The timespan since the last time there was a first-time men's Grand Slam champion (Marin Cilic, 2014 US Open).

His two French Open finals were against Rafa Nadal, a 12-times champion on the Paris clay, while at this year's Australia Open he was beaten in five stunning sets by world number one Novak Djokovic.

Thiem was down early and it was looking like Zverev was going to get the best of the Austrian.

"I wish there were two winners today, we both deserved it", Thiem, the second Austrian to win a Grand Slam title after Thomas Muster's 1995 French Open title, said on court after a tearful speech from his crestfallen 23-year-old opponent.

Thiem received treatment for an Achilles problem during his semi-final victory over Daniil Medvedev but it was a cramp that nearly derailed him in the final set.

The No. 2 seed took the third set 6-4, keeping alive his hopes of winning his first Grand Slam title.

Slumped in his chair after match point with his head in his hands, Zverev was at a loss.

But it proved to be a burden for Thiem, who found himself two sets and a break down against the big-serving German before fighting back to win 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

It was the first time in the US Open's Open era history that a player had recovered from losing the opening two sets to win the title.

This was the first US Open final to be decided by a fifth-set tie-break.

Zverev served for the title - and was broken. Barely spraying any errors in sets one and two, Pablo started to lose ground when he had to take the decisive step and finish the rival, unable to challenge Zverev's serve after the fourth set's fourth game.

"There are some special people missing in the crowd today".