Thiem rallies to clinch first Grand Slam title
Wish we could've two winners, says 27-year-old Austrian after epic US Open crown
New York: Dominic Thiem was all praise for Alexander Zverev after they both competed in what turned out to be an epic US Open 2020 final in which the Austrian emerged victorious riding on a tremendous fightback at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
On Sunday evening, Thiem used every bit of his Grand Slam experience to come back from the brink and defeat Zverev 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 in the 2020 US Open men's singles final.
From being two sets down, the 27-year-old world number three was in all sorts of trouble before hitting back from a break down to take the third.
In a nerve-wracking fourth set, Zverev faltered on serve at 3-4 allowing Thiem to take the contest to a decider.
Thiem then trailed 5-3 in the decider but rode on baseline winners to take it into a tiebreak. He squandered two match points from 6-4 but Zverev fired wide a third opportunity after four hours and two minutes.
This was the first US Open summit clash which was decided by a fifth-set tie-break. Thiem is the first player in the Open Era to rally from two sets down in US Open final. Thiem also became the first Grand Slam champion born in the 1990s, along with the 55th Grand Slam champion of the Open Era and the 150th of all time.
"We started to know each other back in 2014 and straight away started to develop a great friendship...and then a great rivalry," Thiem said after the match as per the ATP Tour website. "We've made great things happen on the court and off the court. It's amazing how far our journey brought us to share this moment. I wish we could have two winners today. We both deserved it," he added.
Thiem has joined Thomas Muster (1995 Roland Garros) as the only Austrian men to win a major championship. He lost his first three Grand Slam finals, most recently in a five-set battle to Novak Djokovic at this year's Australian Open.
"It had to be like this - my career was always like the match today - many ups and downs and I love the way it turned out," tweeted Thiem after the match. Despite the loss, Zverev achieved a career breakthrough in reaching his first Grand Slam final and also showered rich praise on Thiem. "I want to congratulate Dominic on the first of many Grand Slam titles. I wish you could have missed a little more so I could be holding that trophy up, but here I am giving the runner-up speech," Zverev said.
"I want to thank my team for sticking with me. The past two years have not been easy in my tennis career. We're definitely on the way up and I hope that one day we're going to lift that trophy up together," he added.