Dominic Thiem has become the first player in the Open Era to win the US Open title after coming back from two sets down in a dramatic roller-coaster clash against Alexander Zverev.
The second seed struggled both mentally and physically throughout his 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(6) triumph where he was at one stage two points away from losing. Fighting on the court for more than four hours, Thiem was forced to recover from a lacklustre start before ousting his heartbroken Germany rival who at one stage served for the match.
“Sascha. We started to know each other in 2014 when we were both ranked 100th or something and straight away we developed a great friendship,” said the new champion.
“Then in 2016, I think, our great rivalry started again and we made great things happen on and off the court.
“It is amazing how far our journey brought us.
“I wish we could have two winners today, we both deserve it.”
Thiem’s milestone victory was far from plain sailing as he hit 43 winners against 52 unforced errors and won just 48% of his second service points. Nevertheless, he had the edge when it came to the mental battle.
Zverev, who is the youngest player to contest a US Open final in a decade, endured a turbulent route into the title showdown after coming back from a set down in three out of his six previous matches. Although it was a different story for the German against Thiem, who struggled with both nerves and his first serve at the start. Three games into the match Zverev drew first blood after a backhand slice from his opponent slammed into the net and granted him his first break. Throughout the 30-minute opener he continued to dictate play by dropping only three points behind serve and capitalized on his rival’s tentative hitting before sealing the first set with an ace down the line.
Historically in their rivalry, winning the first set hasn’t always been good news. In five out of their nine previous meetings the player who lost was the one who won the first set. However, Zverev refused to relinquish his lead with the help of some high intensity play. Best illustrated by the 103 mph forehand winner he hit en route to breaking once again during the early stages of the second frame. Although a minor wobble whilst leading 5-1 did revive Thiem’s belief as the Austrian claimed three games in a row.
Nearing the prospect of recording the biggest victory of his career, it was Zverev’s turn to experience nerves against a defiant Thiem who found a fresh burst of energy during set number three. Trading breaks early on there was little disparity between the two until the business end. Serving 4-5 down, back-to-back errors from Zverev rewarded Thiem’s perseverance as he snatched the third set.
Continuing the comeback, Thiem started to look the stronger of the two. As Zverev’s error count increased, the Austrian began to be the one dictating play with the help of some blistering shots from both his forehand and backhand side. It would be a Zverev double fault followed by an unforced error that would grant Thiem the opportunity to serve and level the match. Something he did with a love service game.
With a first major trophy, as well as a $3 million prize, at stake the match would be decided by what turned out to be one of the most gut-busting sets of the entire tournament. Incredibly Zverev failed to serve the match out whilst leading 5-3 before the same happened to Thiem when he was ahead 6-5. Then to add to the drama the world No.3 also had a medical time out between. He had hurt his Achilles prior to the final and looked to be in pain at times.
Eventually, it would be two points that would separate the two. At 6-6 in the tiebreaker a passing winner from Thiem granted him his third championship point, which he converted after a Zverev backhand went wild. Prompting the Austrian to drop onto the ground in disbelief whilst his rival was in tears moments afterwards.
“I don’t know where to start. I’d like to congratulate Dominic on the first of many Grand Slam titles. It was a tough battle – I wish you would have missed a little more,” said Zverev.
“Here I am giving a runner-up speech. Thanks to my team for sticking with me – the last two years have not been easy – hopefully one day we will lift this trophy.
“I want to thank my parents. I’m sure they are sitting at home, even though I lost they’re pretty proud. I wish one day that I can bring the trophy home.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s New York event took place behind closed doors for the first time in history. Players were kept in a ‘protective bubble’ and even restricted as to where they could travel. Although Thiem has hailed the tournament for their approach.
“To the USTA and everyone who made this event happen, you did an awesome job. I think the players felt super safe in the bubble, in the hotel, and I couldn’t believe until I got here that this would happen. At such a difficult time, you did a great job. I think we all deserve a normal US Open in 2021 with full crowds and I think this is the wish of everybody,” he said.
Thiem is just the fifth player in the Open Era to have won a Grand Slam final after losing the first two sets.
Andrey Rublev wins Rotterdam dispatching Marton Fucsovics in straight sets
The Russian and world number 8 won the title in Rotterdam beating his Hungarian opponent in straight sets.
Andrey Rublev is the 2021 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament champion after beating Marton Fucsovics in Sunday’s final 7-6 (4),6-4. He was clinical from the word play not giving an inch in a match that was pretty tight.
The triumph has extended the unbeaten run of the 23-year-old in ATP 500 tournaments to 20 matches. To put that into perspective, only Roger Federer and Andy Murray has achieved more consecutive wins in that tournament category. In his latest match Rublev won 75% of his first service points and 63% of his second.
“Marton was playing with a lot of confidence, having come through qualifying,” said Rublev.
“He played an extraordinary tournament. It was a tricky final for me as I was favourite. But in a final, that doesn’t matter.”
Initially it was Fucsovics who got off to a very fast start as it seemed nerves were playing a factor in the early on going for the Russian and he was facing three breakpoints in the opening service game of the match.
Thanks in large part to his big serve the number four seed was able to save those break points and hold his opening service game. From there the nerves had gone and tennis fans were witnessing the Rublev they had watched all week with his powerful serve and ground strokes.
The following game the Russian earned two breakpoints of his very own but it was the world number 59 who would save them this time with his forehand. There wasn’t another breakpoint until 6-5 when Rublev earned a set point but it was Fucsovics again coming up big to save it and force a tiebreak.
In that breaker Rublev would bring his game up an extra level and broke on the opening point with his ferocious forehand up the line. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead the world Fucsovics wasn’t going to throw in the towel and managed to win two straight points with some solid groudstrokes to tie the breaker at 3-3.
It was then Rublev’s turn to respond and he won three points off the trot with three stunning winners that were unreturnable and would take the first set when the Hungarian sent a return long.
The momentum clearly with the Russian from winning the first set and in the first game of the second set earned an early breakpoint and would break playing another amazing rally and finishing the net with a volley winner.
At 4-2 the number four seed had a chance to go up a double break when he had two more breakpoints but the world number 59 came up with two huge serves to save them and eventually hold serve.
Rublev would serve it out to take the set and the match and the title and was very pleased with the win.
” I’m doing everything right, I’m moving in the right direction, I need to keep working the same way to improve the things I need to improve to be able to compete even better”
On the other side of the spectrum Fucsovics spoke on the fact that he started in qualifying and made it all the way to the final.
“I’m very happy, I’m very satisfied with my performance, it wasn’t too bad to play two matches in the qualies, I got used to the court, and I think physically I was fit the whole time all the matches even today, I’m very happy to be in the top 50, to reach the final in the 500, my goal is to win a 500 or win a tournament “
Rublev has now won eight ATP titles in his career.
Rankings Monopoly Of ‘Big Four’ To End
The will be a brand new world No.2 for the first time in more than a decade!
Later this month there will be a change to the ranking system which hasn’t occurred in almost 16 years on the Tour.
Daniil Medvedev is set to overtake Rafael Nadal and climb into the world No.2 position to become the first player outside of the Big Four to do so since Lleyton Hewitt on July 25th 2005. The Russian has been on the verge of taking the spot away from the Spaniard following his run to the final of the Australian Open last month. He had an opportunity to secure the spot in Rotterdam but suffered a shock loss in the first round.
Confirmation of Medvedev’s rise to the second spot was announced by the ATP on Saturday after Nadal officially withdrew from the Acapulco Open. Meaning that a series of points will drop off.
25-year-old Medvedev has won three out of the past five tournaments he has played in on the Tour. During that period he won 12 out of his 13 matches against a member of the top 10. The only loss was to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne. He is already the highest ranked Russian man since Nikolay Davydenko in 2007.
“There’s some confidence when you win tournaments. I won three in a row, one of them [the ATP Cup] was a team competition, of course,” Medvedev said prior to playing Rotterdam. “When you get the confidence going, in the tight moments you feel like you can always make the winners or put the ball back in the court when you have to and make your opponent miss.”
There is still a way to go for a player outside of the elusive Big Four to top the rankings with Djokovic currently having a lead of more than 2000 points. The last player outside of the quartet to do so was Andy Roddick back in 2004.
Medvedev returns to action next week at the Open 13 in France. Granted a bye in the first round, he will start his campaign against either Egor Gerasimov or Yannick Hanfmann.
Marton Fucsovics upsets Borna Coric to reach Rotterdam Final
The Hungarian is into his third ATP final after stunning the Croatian with a straight sets win.
Marton Fucsovics is through to his third ATP final after beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
The 29-year-old Hungarian broke Coric fives time and won 75% of his first service points at the Ahoy Arena to become only the second qualifier in history to reach the title match. The first was France’s Nicolas Esdcude back in 2001. It is also the first time Fucsovics has beaten Coric on the Tour following on his forty attempt.
” I come here every year, it’s not my favourite surface but I can say after this week I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people here,” the world No.59 said during his press conference.
“It’s a very famous tournament, it has a long history and I haven’t seen any Hungarians on the winners list but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”
Coric, who is ranked 33 places higher, didn’t get off to a good start and Fucsovics made sure to take advantage of it in the first game of the opening set by earning three early breakpoints. He broke by winning an intense rally and finishing the point with a sensational forehand winner down the line that was almost picture perfect. There was a small lapse in his game at 3-2 when he served an off game and the Croat would break to put the set back on serve.
That’s when the world number 59 went into full overload earning two more breakpoints the following game after playing a solid point and finishing with a powerful smash at the net. He would break once more as the world number 26 would send a ball long to regain a 4-3 lead. The underdog would save two breakpoints from the Zagreb native who was starting to find his game playing some outstanding tennis and eventually serve out the first set.
The second set is where the Hungarian dominated and went for the kill. Eager to book his spot in the final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon. At 1-1 he would earn another breakpoint winning a long intense rally with a stunning forehand winner.
He would break the following point as Coric hit another unforced error and was visibly frustrated as he belted out in Croatian. After holding serve to consolidate the break Fucsovics smelled blood and once again unforced errors were creeping into the Croats game and he would break once again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Once again after having no issues holding serve the world number 26 was serving to stay in the match but the day belonged to the Fucsovics as he finished the match in style overpowering his opponent to break for a third time to take set and the match.
When asked what it is going to take to end up victorious on Sunday against one of the best players in the world, the Hungarian hopes he will be cheered on by his country.
” It’s going to be a tough match, I just want to enjoy it, I want to play my best tennis, I hope the people from Hungary will be supporting me “
Fucsovics beat Rublev in a Davis Cup World Group Playoff while Rublev got his revenge three years later at Roland Garros. Although both those meetings were on a outdoor clay court and this will be their first meeting on indoor hard.
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