Austrian Dominic Thiem won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and created tennis history in the process after an astonishing comeback against German Alexander Zverev.
Having lost three of three Grand Slam finals, Thiem was facing the prospect of yet another crushing defeat when he went down two-sets and a break in the final.
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But in a match, in which Thiem was clearly struggling with an injury, the Austrian dug deep and was able to hold his nerves to take the final three sets 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6.
The astonishing come back was the first time at the US Open since 1949 when a men’s player had come back from two-sets down to win the US Open final.
Dominic Thiem is the first player to come from two sets down in the championship match to win since American Pancho Gonzales defeated countryman Fred Schroeder Jr., 16-18, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in 1949.— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) September 14, 2020
It's the 1st-ever US Open final to be decided by a fifth-set tiebreak.
It was the first time since Pancho Gonzalez in 1949 that a man came back from two sets down to win the final. https://t.co/L9iiXlTiX1— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 14, 2020
Dominic Thiem is laughing out loud in his chair. He could barely walk at the end, looked completely out of it and yet survived. Zverev double faulted twice in the tiebreak and, frankly, bottled it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) September 14, 2020
World No. 3 @ThiemDomi rallies from 2 sets down to defeat Alexander Zverev in 5th-set TB and win his 1st Grand Slam title at #USOpen.— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) September 14, 2020
After losing his first 3 Grand Slam finals, Thiem joins 1995 @RolandGarros winner Thomas Muster as 2nd Austrian Grand Slam champion in history.
The last man to achieve this feat was American Pancho Gonzales defeated countryman Fred Schroeder Jr.
The Austrian’s victory also made him the youngest player, at 27, to win a Grand Slam since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.
Furthermore, Thiem became the first player since Marin Cilic in 2014 that a new Grand Slam champion was crowned and became just the second Austrian, since Thomas Muster, to win a Grand Slam championship.
The final was not without its drama during and after the match.
Following the rollercoaster of emotions in the final set, a devastated Zverev broke down during the post-match celebration in ‘heartbreaking’ scenes.
Heartbreaking listening to Zverev.— Jordan. (@Jordan__Jake) September 14, 2020
Thiem’s struggles in US Open final
Despite the astonishing comeback, Thiem struggled with an apparent injury and nerves during the final.
But the Austrian was a shadow of the player who dominated Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals.
“Thiem playing shockingly bad. Almost tough to watch,” tennis writer Jose Morgado wrote on Twitter.
British journalist George Bellshaw wrote: “Hard to believe how bad Dominic Thiem has been tonight given the level he’s shown this tournament.”
But in astonishing scenes, Thiem completely righted the ship and sent the match to a fifth set.
A nervy Zverev dropped his serve at 4-5 in the third set to hand it to his opponent, before Thiem snatched the fourth set 6-3.
The official account of The Tennis Podcast tweeted that Thiem’s comeback came “out of nowhere”.