What a curious finale… It was not beautiful in the sense that the purist will understand it. But for sure, she will be remembered for her totally crazy scenario. Alexander Zverev will doubtless wonder for a long time how he could have lost her. Defeated in five sets (2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6) after having had so many opportunities to win it, the German leaves Dominic Thiem the honor of becoming the 150th winner of Grand Slam history. He comes from afar, the Austrian. He amply deserves this title for what he has accomplished in recent years, months and two weeks. On these four Sunday hours, it’s less obvious but for him, it doesn’t matter.
Imperial throughout the tournament, the tense and borrowed world number 3 appeared unrecognizable for an hour and a half. Conversely, Zverev, so messy in his previous matches, has mastered his subject as rarely. Yet a novice in a match of this magnitude when his opponent had the experience of his three lost finals, the great Sasha was by far the more uninhibited of the two. He led 6-2, 6-4 and break at the start of the third set. At this moment, Zverev was doing Thiem and vice versa. No one expected it. But neither could anyone imagine what was to follow.
A 5th set beyond reality
Dominic Thiem had the good idea to break right away in this 3rd set and, from there, it was another game. More solid in the exchange, a little more aggressive too, he gradually reversed the balance of power, until he started again for good by snatching the set at the cost of a break at the best time, at 5-4 in his favor. It was only the beginning of his obstacle course but it was an essential prerequisite. Zverev then did not see the light of day on the opposing service in the next set, gleaning only two small points over the entire 4th set on Dominic Thiem’s throw-in. This time, it is at 4-3 that the Austrian took the blow.
Everything was going to be played out in a 5th set at the same time beyond reality, funny, cruel but, in a certain way, formidable. Twelve games. Six breaks. Reversals of situation in all directions. To make it short, Dominic Thiem broke from the start, before being unbreaker. Then Alexander Zverev, more daring in his decisions, believed to be forcing his destiny by taking the service of the Austrian in the 8th game. At 5-3 in his favor, he had “only” to conclude. He served to win his first Grand Slam title. Did he measure all the weight? Possible. In any case, he delivered a catastrophic game. Everything had to be redone. We had seen a lot of them already, but the best, or the best of the worst, was yet to come.
Alexander Zverev – US Open 2020
Credit: Getty Images
Thiem was in agony
Because it is Thiem who, in turn, signed at 5-5 a break that we imagined (cautiously, anyway) decisive. Even if Nicolas Massu’s protege then called in the physiotherapist to manipulate his right thigh, he only had one unfortunate push to give. But like Zverev a quarter of an hour earlier, he masterfully redacted his commitment. For the first time, a final of the US Open was going to end in the tie-break of the 5th set, while the two players had served in turn for the coronation.
This tie-break, Sascha Zverev started it better, as a metaphor for this final, and as a last blow to the heart for him. However, he saved two match points at 6-4, with the complicity, it is true, of Dominic Thiem, especially on the first. The third was the right one. Thiem, in physical agony, who could only slice the backhand for many minutes, was able to collapse on the court. He has returned from hell and, once again, his dedication enters into a form of logic. Even if, logically, there was hardly a Sunday evening on Arthur-Ashe court.