7 things to know about US Open champion Dominic Thiem

Grant Boone
September 14, 2020

After dropping the opening two sets against Alexander Zverev on Sunday at a almost empty Arthur Ashe Stadium - fans were banned because of the coronavirus pandemic - Thiem slowly but surely turned things around for a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory across more than four hours to earn his first major championship.

The 2020 U.S. Open Men's Final will take place on Saturday afternoon from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY. Then the win went to second-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria, and the sympathy to fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany. Then Zverev hugged Thiem, exchanging words, to put their friendship in full display.

Thiem finally clinched it 8-6 in the tiebreak on his third match point, having made a frightful mess of two straightforward forehands when he had chances at 6-4 and 6-5 after two double faults from his opponent.

Thiem, looking the more exhausted and perhaps cramping, broke for 6-5 when Zverev sent a forehand well long, but he too failed to serve it out after a brief visit from the trainer. I said to myself, "I'm playing bad, I'm way too tight, legs are heavy, arms are heavy". They're always with me. "From that moment, the belief got stronger and stronger". He broke down during the presentation ceremony when he talked about his parents, who were unable to attend the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Austrian limped through Sunday's tie-break but said he would be fit for Roland Garros after the realization he is a Grand Slam champion sinks in. He forgot about losing his serve for the match at 6-5 in the fifth, and about losing two championship points in the tiebreaker at 6-4, when, looking like a cramp and a crumple waiting to happen, he summoned two last favorable points. "I was a few games away, maybe a few points away", a dejected Zverev told reporters.

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Zverev forced Thiem's error to secure the first break in the third game, holding at love with a forehand victor to confirm the advantage and open a 3-1 gap. I had a lot of chances in the fifth set and didn't use them.

"I achieved a life goal, a dream of myself, which I had for many, many years".

"With this goal achieved, I think and I hope that I'm going to be a little bit more relaxed and play a little bit more freely at the biggest events", he added. "I do believe that I will be a grand slam champion at some point".

In this unique season, the pair must now try to leave this occasion behind and focus on clay, with the French Open starting in two weeks. I think this is not the only one. I achieved a big, big goal. "I don't know how I'm going to feel the next days".

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