Dominic Thiem Fights Back To Win Maiden Major Title In US Open Epic - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Fights Back To Win Maiden Major Title In US Open Epic

The world No.3 looked like he was on the verge of a straight sets loss before staging the greatest comebacks of his career.

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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.

The comeback

https://twitter.com/usopen/status/1305306736493039618

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 troph
y 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.

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World No.32 Davidovich Fokina Replaces Long-Time Coach With Verdasco

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Fernando Verdasco was spotted earlier this week briefly watching Ons Jabeur play at the French Open but his focus this year is on another player.

The former top 10 player has landed a new coaching job after being hired by compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Somebody who he once played a Tour-level doubles match alongside back in 2020. Fokina has opted to stop working with Jorge Aguirre, who has been his mentor since he was a child.

The change comes after what has been a mixed start to the season for Fokina who has only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of 11 tournaments played before the start of Roland Garros. His sole win over a top 20 player occurred at the start of 2024 when he beat Hubert Hurkacz at the United Cup.  

“I will be very brief. I have left it with Jorge (Aguirre) and I start with Verdasco, with whom I have had a good relationship for years. He has not officially retired, but I knew that he was training other players and it was time,” Fokina told reporters after beating Valentin Vacherot in the first round of the French Open.
“It was time to close a stage and start a new one. With his experience, Verdasco can help me a lot to face the games, to assume that pressure and tension of the competition.”

Verdasco has won seven ATP titles during his career and reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Australian Open. At this year’s Madrid Open, he briefly helped Jabeur whose main coach Issam Jellali was unable to attend the tournament. 

Fokina will next play Casper Ruud in Roland Garros.

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Roland Garros 2024: Casper Ruud Explains Geneva Decision, Martin Etcheverry Talks Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Two-time finalist Casper Ruud is into the second round with a straight sets win over Felipe Meligeni Alves.

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Casper Ruud has explained the decision behind playing in Geneva last week after he defeated Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4 6-3.

The world number seven is into the second round after a straight sets win over the Brazilian qualifier.

Ruud has reached the final the past two occasions here having lost to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in those respective finals.

Now the Norwegian is targeting more success in Paris this year and spoke about his opening round performance after the match, “Yeah, I was honestly very happy. I think it was a good start,” Ruud stated in his press conference.

“I think Felipe is a dangerous player, and obviously I didn’t know him so well. So not easy to know what’s going to come out of his racquet. I think he was firing pretty good serves and forehands.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty high-quality match and happy to be through in straight sets. That’s just what I was kind of hoping and looking for. Yeah, I’m very happy to be through.”

Given Ruud’s history at Roland Garros, there would be no reason to suggest that the Norwegian would need to play his way into form.

However that’s exactly what he did in Geneva the week before Roland Garros as he won the title in Switzerland.

After his opening round match Ruud was asked about why he always plays in Geneva instead of practicing on-site in Paris, “No, I decide based on the fact that I enter the tournament, and with the purpose of going. But of course, if you do super well in Madrid and Rome and you play, let’s say, 10 matches or more within those two weeks or the two tournaments, maybe, depending on how your body feels, it’s kind of easier to skip it,” Ruud explained.

“But that wasn’t the case for me in Madrid and Rome. I played only four matches there. I lost early in Rome. If I didn’t play Geneva I would have had 17 or 18 days since I lost in Rome until starting in Roland Garros, which in my eyes, my feeling, is just a bit too much. For some players, they don’t think it’s too much. They don’t have a problem with it.

“But for me I like going into tournament kind of mode and feeling in the zone when you’re playing an official match. That’s why I like playing. It gives me kind of confidence and match feeling going into a Grand Slam, which is the Grand Slam that I personally feel like I have the most chances to do well in.”

Ruud will aim to continue his good run of form when he takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.

Martin Etcheverry Speaks On Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Finally Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated Arthur Cazaux in four sets to seal his place in the second round.

The Argentinian is a big Novak Djokovic fan and after the match spoke about his love for Roland Garros and has tipped Djokovic to win this year’s tournament, “I think it’s my favorite tournament since I was a child, and I always want to play here,” Martin Etcheverry explained.

“This is a moment of the year that I want to be here and try to play my best tennis because I want to get a good result here.

“Yeah, is he my idol, and he is the No. 1 of the world. I don’t know, like six years right now. Yeah, I always try to watch him, trying to improve the game. I always trying to saw him. Yeah, I think he’s going to be No. 1 a lot of time. I don’t know if they have a good year this year, but I think it’s Novak Djokovic. Maybe he can win this tournament.”

Martin Etcheverry will play another Frenchman in the form of Arthur Rinderknech in the second round with Ruud being the potential third round opponent.

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Grand Slam Quarter-Finalist Van De Zandschulp Pondering Retirement After French Open Exit

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Botic van de Zandschulp has revealed he is losing his passion for tennis and is considering retiring from the sport following his exit from the French Open on Monday.

The 29-year-old was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Fabio Fognini, who eased his way to a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, victory. It is the second Grand Slam in a row where he has fallen at the first hurdle with the 2022 Wimbledon championships being the last major event where he won back-to-back matches.   

“I don’t look forward to competitions at all anymore,” Zandschulp told Dutch media.
“I have been asking myself more and more lately whether I want to continue.
“You have to do work that you enjoy. Everyone has a bad day every now and then. But if there are too many, then you have to ask yourself whether you want to continue.” 

Zandschulp has been the top-ranked player in his country with his most notable achievement being a run to the quarter-finals of the 2021 US Open. The former world No.22 is a two-time runner-up at the Munich Open but is yet to win an ATP Tour title. He has registered a total of six wins over top 10 players, including Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev. 

However, recent difficulties on the Tour have left the Dutchman questioning if he wants to continue playing.  

“I like the training. Those are great days. But when I get up in the morning, I no longer look forward to the matches at all.” He commented.

Zandschulp’s remarks could be a reaction to his frustrating loss to Fognini. However, he confirmed that he has been considering retiring for a long time. 

“It was the worst match I have played in my life,” he said. 
“Of course, it is now fresh after the match. That plays a role in my mind, but the thoughts of quitting have been there for a long time. It is not an easy life as a tennis player. You really live your life, play thirty weeks a year and travel from pillar to post.
“If you don’t play, someone else will pass you by (in the rankings). That’s why I now play extra tournaments instead of charging myself at home.”

Zandschulp is currently ranked 102nd in the world and is scheduled to play in the French Open doubles event on Tuesday.

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