New York, 14 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Second seed Dominic Thiem came back from two-sets-to-love down to defeat German fifth seed Alexander Zverev 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) and clinch a maiden grand slam title at the US Open.
Thiem, who looked in pain and called the trainer late in the decider, is the first Austrian to be crowned singles champion at the US open and the first since Pancho Gonzales in 1949 to successfully rally back from a two-sets-to-love deficit in a final in New York.
“It’s amazing how far away our journey brought us to share this moment with you and I really wish we could have two winners today,” a gracious Thiem told Zverev during his victory speech.
“I think we both deserved it but as I remember when we played the Madrid finals together, you told me that I’m going to make it, that I’m going to win this title and I’m telling you the same now here. You’re going to make it 100 per cent.”
“You’re going to make your parents proud, your family proud who are at home.”
Men’s tennis finally has its first new grand slam winner since 2014 and crowns its first major champion born in the 1990s.
Thiem, 27, trailed Zverev 2-6, 1-5, was down a break early in the third, and limped his way back from 3-5 down in the deciding set en route to a heroic four-hour comeback to end a three-match losing streak in grand slam finals.
The Austrian’s victory ended the streak of the Big Three – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – who had won the last 13 consecutive majors.
This was the first US Open championship match to be decided by a final-set tiebreak and it left Zverev heartbroken during the trophy ceremony.
“There are some special people missing in the crowd today. I want to thank my parents, they’re always with me at every tournament I go to; unfortunately my dad and my mother tested positive [for coronavirus] before the tournament and they couldn’t come with me. I miss them but…” Zverev, 23, said fighting back tears.
“This is tough man. I’m sure they’re sitting at home, even though I lost, they’re pretty proud and I wish one day I can bring the trophy home,” he added.
Zverev was playing his first grand slam final and is now 2-8 against Thiem in career meetings. The pair are both good friends and rivals, and are among the top four on the leaderboard for most matches won on tour since 2016, alongside Djokovic and Nadal.
“I want to congratulate Dominic on the first of many grand slam titles, I think; this is not the only one,” Zverev told Thiem on court.
“It was a tough battle; I wish you would have missed a little bit more so I could have held that trophy up, but here I am giving the runners-up speech.”