Dominic Thiem became the first player in the Open Era to start a two sets rally in 1968 and won the US Open final when he defeated his friend Alexander Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6. (6) Sunday in New York.
This had not been done completely since 1949.
There were more firsts. The popular Austrian became the first new men’s Grand Slam champion after Marin Cilic in 2014 and was the first fifth set tiebreak in a final at the US Open.
Thiem somehow won the four-hour match despite suffering leg cramps in the tie.
Zverev, incredibly, lost by two sets after coming off two sets to defeat Pablo Carreno Busta in the semi-finals. In addition, he took the lead in the third break, but more devastating for him, could not face a 5–3 encounter in the fifth.
You could understand his tears during the presentation of the trophy.
A tournament marked by combax
Perhaps Thiem’s rally was no surprise, as the huge comeback marked the final three days of the tournament. In the women’s final on Saturday, Naomi Osaka defeated Victoria Azarenka by one set and nearly 3–0.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both dropped the same Major for the first time since 1999 and missed the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to hit a ball in the fourth round that inadvertently hit a line judge in the throat.
But even more unusual was that this year the US Open was being held without fans due to a coronovirus epidemic, but with a bubble.
Thiem may have benefited from the absence of the legendary Big Three, but the 27-year-old has fielded each of them at least four times.
A Grand Slam title was imminent, placing three other finals in the Major.
He also drew harder on paper than Zvere, who did not face a top-25 foe before Sunday.
Thiem will no doubt be told by reporters if Akilis, who was injured in the semifinal against Daniel Medvedev in the 2019 final, suffered a nerves. He wouldn’t type to say if it was, though.
But seventh-placed Zverev – who struggled as key favorites in their last two games – cruised through the opening two sets in their first Grand Slam final.
When ATP came up with its NextGen slogan several years ago to promote its young stars, he was the head of the class.
A match with a full twist
The 23-year-old man served over 130 mph, a forehand topped 100 mph and he jointly attacked tennis with counterpunching. He also served successfully and was fascinated by taking advantage of Thiam’s deep return. But 15 double faults ultimately did not leave him.
The lone dice moment for Zverev in the first two sets came in the middle in the second. A combination of bold tennis from Thiem and double faults from Zverev – they have been an issue for him – saw a 5-1 to 5-1 lead decrease.
At his fifth set point, however, Zvere officially held a two-set advantage. It got even better for him when he broke 2–1 in the third.
But now faced with the pressure of trying to close the encounter, Zverev dropped and Thiem rose.
Thiem immediately broke and then broke again at 5-4 to stop the fourth set.
Thiem set a break point at 2-3 after winning one of the tournament rallies, swiftly defending around the court before hitting a forehand passing shot. In the absence of fans, his crew roared him. He did not break there, but did so at 4-3.
Thiem has the ability to steamroll opponents with his power game and when he broke up 1-0 in the fifth, it looked like it was going to happen once again.
But in a sudden favorite position, as he was in the beginning, he drew 1–1.
This was followed by another spectacular rally at 0-15. This time it was out of a fierce Thiem backhand, with Zerev heroically defending him before the gallop.
Zverev later pressed for his serve and was rewarded at 4-3 as Thiem was forced into a backhand error.
As the pressure increased, the score increased. Zverev broke at 5-3 and Thiem produced a spell to make it 15-30 at 4-5, capping the game with a sizzling forehand pass.
Zverev laxly, and erased on the forehand to reverse 5-6.
But the twists were not finished.
Thiem was ill, calling the trainer. He was not moving freely, broke himself and was trapped by an early mini-break at the tiebreak.
Two Zverev double faults gave him a gift and Thiem took a 6-4 lead. The first two match points were erased. At first, Thiem recalled a forehand sitter stuck to Zverev.
But at 6-6, he hit a passing shot to gain a third championship point. He then sealed it on a backhand error and went to court.
Thiem jokingly said that he might have to call Andy Murray if he loses on Sunday, as Scott lost his first four Grand Slam finals.
He probably still wants to call Murray. They can talk about how it feels to hoist the Grand Slam Trophy.