After three lost finals, and 4 hours 2 minutes of an excruciatingly brilliant fourth, Dominic Thiem can finally call himself a Grand Slam winner. Thiem, who was right from the start of the tournament, among the favourites for the title, lived up to his billing beating Alexander Zverev in five sets 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(6) to win the US Open.
With a history of losing to two of the ‘Big Three’ — twice to Rafael Nadal at the French Open and to Novak Djokovic in Australia — Thiem could have been forgiven for hoping he’d have it easy against Zeverev. But, of course that was not to be.
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It was Zverev who took control of proceedings right from the start, racing to a two set lead, and at that point of time, it looked like Thiem would be humbled in three, by a friend who himself has been billed for big things. And that is where the comeback began, as Thiem clawed back point by point, game by game to wrest control and then in the one set shootout, prevailed.
“I expect it’s going to be easier for me now in the biggest tournaments,” Thiem said. The Austrian became the first player outside Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam since Stan Wawrinka’s win at Flushing Meadows in 2016. He is also the first player born in the 90s to win a Grand Slam — a brutal indictment of how good the Big Three really are to have kept it up for so long.
“I had it in the back of my head that I had a great career so far, way better than I could ever dream of, but until today there was still a big goal missing,” Thiem said post match, acknowledging all the while that he’d have loved for there to have been two winners on the day. “With this achieved, I hope that I’m going to be a little bit more relaxed and play a little bit more freely at the biggest events.“
For Zverev, the taxing victories of the last week, which contributed hugely to his loss, will only add fuel to his desire to succeed.
“I was super close to being a Grand Slam champion. I was a few games away, maybe a few points away,” Zverev said. “I don’t think it’s my last chance. I do believe that I will be a Grand Slam champion at some point.”
Dylan Alcott misses wheelchair tennis title
Sam Schroder shocked Dylan Alcott in the finals of the Men’s wheelchair singles 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 6-4 to deny the Australian a double at the US Open this year.
Alcott was chasing his third US Open singles crown and won the quad doubles title this year at Flushing Meadows.
In a match that oscillated between the sublime and the strange, Scroder drew first blood edging the tie break to take a one set lead. Alcott hit back in the most dominant way possible though, blanking the Dutchman 6-0 to take the second. With the momentum firmly on his side everyone would have expected him to saunter to the victory lap. But Schroder upped his game in the decider to clinch it and win his first major title.
De Groot Wins Women's Wheelchair Title
Netherlands’ top seed, Diede de Groot won her third straight US Open women’s wheelchair singles title beating Japan’s Yui Kamiji 6-3, 6-3.
de Groot has previously won consecutive titles at Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018 and Australian Open in 2018 and 2019. The No.1 seed — also the best player in the world — has won every Grand Slam at least once. This, despite making her debut on the Tour in only 2017!
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Aside from the majors, de Groot has also won the singles title at the 2017 and 2018 Wheelchair Tennis Masters and has a silver medal in the doubles competition from the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Kamiji meanwhile could seek consolation in the fact that she won the women’s doubles title partnering Britain’s Jordanne Whiley. This was Whiley’s second US Open doubles crown. The duo beat the Dutch top seeds Marjolein Buis and de Groot 6-3, 6-3.
The fact that the wheelchair events were held at Flushing Meadows this year is testament to the quality and the brilliance of all the players who participated in the event itself and the following the game has across the world. The USTA had originally scrapped the event in lieu of the pandemic. After facing a barrage of criticism, from players, fans and onlookers they reversed the decision and decided to hold it.
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