Entering the third set of his 2020 US Open finals match against Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem was not just pitted against his opponent but also history. Thiem was two sets behind and needed to do something no one has done in the last 71 years if he was to win his first career Grand Slam.
Zverev opened the match with confidence, and cruised to 6-2 win in the first set, and closed out the second with 6-4. Thiem then cleaned up his game, got more confidence in his serve, and rallied back to even the score with 6-4 and 6-3 wins.
The fifth and final set saw even more excitement, as both players had a chance to serve for the Championship. Zverev got his at 5-3 lead, but couldn’t close out the match, while Thiem missed on the same opportunity having 6-5 lead.
Ultimately, it all got down to a tiebreaker. Zverev got to a 2-0 lead, but a couple of his double faults allowed Thiem an opportunity to get an edge in the decisive moments. The Austrian seized it and closed out the tiebreaker, thanks to a backhand error from Zverev.
“It’s amazing how far away our journey brought us to share this moment with you, and really I wish for you we could have two winners today,” said Thiem after the match. “We both deserved it. You’re going to make it 100 percent. You’re going to make your parents proud, your family proud at home.”
For Dominic Thiem, the Grand Slam win was a long time coming. Between 2016 and 2019, he got more ATP wins than any other pro. He also played three Grand Slam finals before, but couldn’t get over the hump, losing two times at French Open to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.
However, Nadal didn’t come to the US Open due to coronavirus concerns while Djokovic was defaulted, opening the way for Thiem to finally claim a deserved win at a major tournament. And, in a memorable fashion, claimed he did.