“We started to know each other back in 2014 and developed straight away a great friendship, and 2016 our great rivalry started,” Thiem says. “We made great things happen on the court and off the court. I wish we could have two winners today. We both deserved it. You’re going to make it, 100%, make your parents proud.”
Thiem becomes the first player to come from two sets down in the championship match at the US Open since 1949, back when it was known as the US Championships, when Richard “Pancho” Gonzales won 16-18, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 over American countryman Fred Schroeder Jr.
“I wish you would have missed a little bit more, so I could have been holding that trophy up,” an emotional Zverev says during the trophy presentation. “But here I am giving the runner-up speech.”
He continues: “I obviously want to thank my team for sticking with me. The last two years haven’t been easy in my tennis career. We’re definitely on the way up and one day we are going to lift that trophy up together.”
Today’s match was only the fifth comeback win from two sets down in a major final in the Open era (since 1969). Thiem becomes the first player do it away from Roland Garros. The updated list:
- 1974 French Open – Borg def Orantes, 2–6, 6–7, 6–0, 6–1, 6–1
- 1984 French Open – Lendl def McEnroe, 3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5
- 1999 French Open – Agassi def Medvedev, 1–6, 2–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4
- 2004 French Open – Gaudio def Coria, 0–6, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1, 8–6
- 2020 US Open – Thiem def Zverev, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6
Dominic Thiem wins 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6)!
Fifth-set tiebreaker: Zverev 6-8 Thiem
Zverev holds his opening service point, then goes up a quick minibreak with a backhand passing winner on Thiem’s serve for 2-love. Thiem holds the next point, but then Zverev gives the minibreak back with his 14th double fault of the match for 2-all. They hold their next two service points and it’s 3-all at the change of ends.
Thiem, who appeared to be cramping up moments ago but is moving better now, holds for 4-3 with a 132mph first serve – the hardest he’s hit all night – that Zverev can’t return into play. And then Zverev double-faults again! Oh dear! He’s down a minibreak, serving at 3-5. Zverev holds the point, but now Thiem has the match on his racket serving at 5-4. Thiem then hits a forehand passing winner after a 13-stroke rally for double championship point. A 12-shot rally follows and it’s Thiem who blinks, misfiring off the forehand. Back on serve in the breaker with Zverev serving at 5-6. He holds the first of his two service points for 6-all and the players will change ends again.
Thiem then slots a gorgeous forehand passing winner on Zverev’s serve to go a minibreak up! He will serve for the match at 7-6. And Zverev sprays a backhand long early in the rally, giving Thiem the match!
Zverev breaks in 12th game of fifth set!
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-6 Thiem
It’s not over yet! Zverev pushes it to love-30 after following a Thiem unforced error with an overhand winner. He’s two points from a break that would force a fifth-set tiebreaker. Thiem responds with a volley winner but Zverev wins the next point for 15-40 and two break points. Thiem saves the first with a 111mph first serve that Zverev can’t get back into play, but Zverev pounds his 52nd winner off the forehand to conver the second and force a fifth-set tiebreaker!
Thiem breaks in 11th game of fifth set!
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 5-6 Thiem*
Thiem slots a forehand passing winner to nose ahead love-15 on Zverev’s serve, but mixes in an unforced error off the backhand deep into a rally for 15-all. Thiem pushes it to 30-all, then stakes a massive break-point chance at 30-40 when Zverev makes another unforced error. An 18-stroke baseline rally ensues … and Thiem gets the break when Zverev overcooks a forehand! Thiem has won three games on the trot and will serve for the title after the changeover!
Fifth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 5-5 Thiem
Thiem serving to stay in the tournament. He wins the first point at the end of a grueling 17-stroke rally, but mixes in his 49th and 50th unforced errors to go down 15-30. Zverev is two points from the finish line. But Thiem digs in, following a 109mph unreturnable serve with a forehand winner from the baseline and a volley winner to hold. Brilliant stuff on both sides.
Thiem breaks in ninth game of fifth set!
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 5-4 Thiem*
It’s not over yet! Clearly feeling the nerves with the championship on his racket, Zverev makes a pair of unfroced errors off the forehand side to go down love-30, then one off the backhand for 15-40. Two break points for Thiem. Zverev saves the first with a 128mph serve that Thiem can’t return into play, but Zverev nets on a serve-and-volley on the second and we’re back on serve in the fifth!
Zverev breaks in eighth game of fifth set!
Fifth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 5-3 Thiem
Thiem goes down love-30 for a second straight service game. Massive points forthcoming as a break would give Zverev a chance to serve for the match. Thiem responds with a forehand overhand winner and drop-shot winner for 30-all, but nets a backhand from a step inside the baseline to go break point down. And Zverev converts with a sharp backhand from the baseline that Thiem can’t return into the court! Zverev will step to the line to serve for his first major title.
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 4-3 Thiem*
A tidy hold for Zverev, who is serving 78% in this fifth set after slipping to 52% in the fourth.
Fifth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 3-3 Thiem
Thiem opens with a double fault and his 43rd unforced error to go down love-30 on his seerve. But he digs in for three quick points (including a spectacular forehand winner down the line for 15-30) followed by a 113mph ace out wide to escape with the hold.
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 3-2 Thiem*
Zverev breezes through a service game sandwiched by his 14th and 15th aces. On serve in the decider.
Fifth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 2-2 Thiem
Thiem holds comfortably to stay on serve. He is attempting to complete only the fifth comeback from two sets down in a major final in the Open era. The other four all took place at the French Open:
- 1974 Borg def Orantes, 2–6, 6–7, 6–0, 6–1, 6–1
- 1984 Lendl def McEnroe, 3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 7–5
- 1999 Agassi def Medvedev, 1–6, 2–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4
- 2004 Gaudio def Coria, 0–6, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1, 8–6
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 2-1 Thiem*
Thiem wins the first point on Zverev’s serve, but follows with a forehand volley winner at the end of a spectacular 25-shot rally for 15-all. They’re finally both playing well at the same time and the level has risen to the caliber of a grand slam final. Zverev goes down 15-30 after another unforced error, but answers with a 131mph ace down the middle for 30-all. Zverev holds from there and we’re on serve.
Zverev breaks in second game of fifth set!
Fifth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 1-1 Thiem
Now it’s Thiem who gets tight with a chance to consolidate the break and pull away. After crunching a 111mph ace out wide for 30-15, he makes an unforced error off the forehand, gets passed at the net by a blistering Zverev backhand then double-faults to donate the game to Zverev. Back on serve in the fifth.
Thiem breaks in first game of fifth set!
Fifth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 0-1 Thiem*
A disastrous service game for Zverev to open the deciding set. He goes down love-15 and 15-40 and is quickly broken from there. Four unforced errors including a double fault. Thiem in immediate control.
Thiem wins fourth set, 6-3!
Fourth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6 Thiem
Thiem breezes to a love hold and he’s leveled the match from two sets down. We’re headed to a decider!
Thiem breaks in eighth game of fourth set!
Fourth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-5 Thiem*
Zverev is made to work on his serve, getting pushed to deuce. Thiem makes an unforced error for game point, but Zverev follows with a misfire of his own then a double fault for break point. A big chance for Thiem and he converts it when Zverev sprays a forehand. Thiem will serve for the set.
Fourth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-4 Thiem
Thiem holds from love-15 down, closing it out witth a 104mph ace to keep the scoreboard pressure on Zverev. The first serve has regressed a bit in the fourth: he’s getting only 44% of them in after improving to 74% in the third.
Fourth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-3 Thiem*
Zverev opens with a forehand winner, but Thiem rattles off three points (including a forehand passing winner at the end of a highlight-reel 18-shot rally) to earn a pair of break-point chances. A big chance for Thiem. But Zverev saves them both, then holds easily from there.
Fourth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 2-3 Thiem
Another economical love hold for Thiem, who’s won 12 of 13 points on his serve in this set.
Fourth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 2-2 Thiem*
Zverev flies through another service game, hittting three unreturnable serves and a forehand volley winner.
Fourth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 1-2 Thiem
Thiem rolls to an uneventful hold from love-15 down.
Fourth set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 1-1 Thiem*
A stress-free hold for Zverev, who cracks a pair of 130mph aces down the middle along the way.
Fourth set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 0-1 Thiem
Thiem holds at love to open the fourth. He improved his first-serve rate to 74% in the third set from 68% in the second and 37% in the first.
Thiem wins third set, 6-4!
Thiem breaks in 10th game of third set!
Third set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-6 Thiem
Zverev opens with a 132mph unreturnable serve, but double-faults for 15-all. Two more scratchy points by Zverev and suddenly he’s down 15-40. Two set points for Thiem and he only needs the first, with Zverev chipping in his 32nd unforced error from the baseline. Third set to Thiem and the comeback is on!
Third set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-5 Thiem
Thiem is pushed to deuce but holds from there. Zverev, who chipped in his eighth and ninth unforced errors along the way, will serve to stay in the set after the changeover.
Third set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 4-4 Thiem*
Zverev opens with two aces and a forehand winner and races out to 40-15. Thiem pushes it to deuce thanks to a Zverev double fault and a swinging volley winner, but Zverev holds from there.
Third set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 3-4 Thiem
An urgent moment for Thiem as the unforced errors continue to creep back into the Austrian’s game. He quickly goes down love-30 on his serve. Thiem rattles off three quick points but sprays another forehand for deuce. He’s able to hold from there, however, putting the scoreboard pressure back on Zverev. Thiem has now hit 19 winners against 32 unforced errors, compared to 31 winners and 25 miscues for Zverev.
Third set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 3-3 Thiem*
Zverev opens with a 133mph ace down the middle followed by a forehand winner that paints the line for 30-love. Thiem wins the next point when Zverev makes an unforced error but he holds comfortably from there.
Third set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 2-3 Thiem
Thiem, so shaky on serve all day, needed a straightforward hold to consolidate the break and that’s just what he conjures, holding at love.
Third set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 2-2 Thiem*
Thiem pushes it to 30-all on Zverev’s serve, then Zverev makes a seventh double fault ot give Thiem an immediate chance to break back. Zverev saves it, but makes an unforced backhand error on the next point to give Thiem a second look at a break. Zverev saves that one, then a third before finally breaking through on the fourth. We’re back on serve in the third.
Zverev breaks in third game of third set!
Third set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 2-1 Thiem
A dangerous moment for Thiem, who goes down love-15 then 15-40 on his serve. Two more break points for Zverev. Thiem saves them with a pair of big serves that Zverev can’t get back into play, but earns a third break chance a moment later … and this time converts it when Thiem overcooks a forehand from the baseline. Zverev has taken this match by the scruff early in the third.
Third set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 1-1 Thiem*
Zverev blitzes to yet another economical love hold, closing it out with a 114mph ace down the pipe.
Third set: *Zverev 6-2, 6-4, 0-1 Thiem
Thiem is pushed to 30-all on his serve but holds comfortably from there.
Zverev wins second set, 6-4!
Second set: Zverev 6-2, 6-4 Thiem
Zverev opens with his sixth double fault of the afternoon. Could the nerves be creeping in? He rattles off two quick points before spraying a backhand wide for 30-all. A big chance for Thiem here. But Zverev slams the door shut, pounding a forehand winner for set point then following with a forehand early in the rally that Thiem can’t get back over the net. The German has staked a commanding two-sets-to-none lead and is one set from becoming the youngest men’s grand slam champion since Juan Martin del Porto won the 2009 US Open title aged 20.
Second set: *Zverev 6-2, 5-4 Thiem
Thiem breezes through his first straightforward service game since the very start of the match, going 110mph unreturnable, backhand winner at the net, 132mph ace down the middle, forehand passing winner to hold at love. Zverev will have a second chance to serve out the set after the change of ends.
Thiem breaks in eighth game of second set!
Second set: Zverev 6-2, 5-3 Thiem*
Thiem makes a bit of headway on Zverev’s serve winning the opening point then going ahead 15-30 on a Zverev double fault. Zverev answers with a 128mph ace and a 131mph unreturnable serve, but follows with an unforced error and another double fault to go break point down. And Thiem settles a 10-ball rally with a forehand volley winner to get one of the breaks back.
Second set: *Zverev 6-2, 5-2 Thiem
Thiem falls behind love-30 and Zverev is two points from a commanding two-sets-to-none lead. Thiem serves his way of immediate danger with a 121mph ace followed by a 93mph second serve that Zverev dumps into the net for 30-all. Yet another netted forehand by Thiem gives Zverev a set point. The Austrain saves it when Zverev misfires with a forehand, then saves a second and third with a couple of big serves. Finally, Thiem escapes with the hold and Zverev will look to serve out the set.
Second set: Zverev 6-2, 5-1 Thiem*
Another business-like hold for Zverev, who closes it out with a forehand winner, his 19th overall against 11 unforced errors.
Zverev breaks in fifth game of second set!
Second set: *Zverev 6-2, 4-1 Thiem
Big trouble for Thiem, who goes down love-15 on his serve then 15-40 after another double fault. Two break points for Zverev. Thiem saves them both, but follows with his 16th and 17th unforced errors to go down a double break in the second.
Second set: Zverev 6-2, 3-1 Thiem*
A window of opportunity for Thiem after he pounds a pair of forehand passing winners on Zverev’s serve for love-30. Zverev rattles off three quick points but then double faults for deuce. He fights off another deuce point from there en route to another hold to stay out in front.
Zverev breaks in third game of second set!
Second set: *Zverev 6-2, 2-1 Thiem
Thiem continues to struggle badly on his serve. After going down love-30, he wins the next point from the baseline and follows with a 112mph ace for 30-all. But Zverev then hits a forehand winner for break point and converts it with an assist from Thiem’s 13th unforced error.
Second set: Zverev 6-2, 1-1 Thiem*
Another brisk hold at love for Zverev, this one spanning all of 45 seconds. He caps it with a 125mph ace down the middle and has now won 19 of the last 21 points on his serve – and 20 of 23 overall.
Second set: *Zverev 6-2, 0-1 Thiem
Thiem is pushed again on his serve to open the second. Serving at 30-all, he makes another double fault to give Zverev a break-point chance. But he saves it after getting the best of Zverev in an 11-shot baseline rally, then holds from there.
Zverev wins first set, 6-2!
First set: Zverev 6-2 Thiem
Zverev races out to 30-love. He’s won 13 straight points on his serve and is two points from the set. He then mixes in a double fault before Thiem wins the next point for 30-all, opening the door. But Zverev holds from there, thumping a 122mph ace to the body on set point to close it out. He hit 16 winners against six unforced errors, winning 92% first-serve points and seven of eight points at the net.
Zverev breaks in seventh game of first set!
First set: *Zverev 5-2 Thiem
After getting pushed to 30-all on his serve, Thiem responds with his fastest serve of the day: a 109mph ace out wide for 40-30. But Zverev pounds a backhand winner from the baseline on the next point for deuce and then Thiem makes his third double fault for another break-point chance. And he converts it, hitting a backhand up the line that Thiem can’t return into the court for a double-break lead! The Austrian is serving at only 37% and winning 29% of the second-serve points. Zverev will serve for the set after the change of ends.
First set: Zverev 4-2 Thiem*
Another love hold for the dialed-in Zverev, including a 124mph ace down the pipe. A brisk 49-second service game and he’s won the last 11 points on his serve.
First set: *Zverev 3-2 Thiem
More trouble for Thiem as he quickly goes down love-30 on his serve with his third and fourth unforced errors. He answers with a few winners for 40-30, but Zverev pushes it to deuce. Thiem escapes with the hold from there, winning a couple of commanding points from the baseline.
First set: Zverev 3-1 Thiem*
Zverev backs up the break emphatically, going 138mph unreturnable serve, backhand volley winner followed by backhand and forehand winners from the baseline to hold at love. The 23-year-old German is swinging freely, his forehand averaging 83mph off the ground. A far better start than in Friday’s semi-final.
Zverev breaks in third game of first set!
First set: *Zverev 2-1 Thiem
Zverev wins the first point on Thiem’s serve, taking control of a 14-shot rally early and closing it out with a forehand volley winner. Thiem then double-faults for 15-30 then makes an unforced error early in a rally for 15-40. Two break points for Zverev. Thiem saves the first with a backhand volley winner but Zverev converts the second for the early break. Thiem is struggling with his first serve early: he’s only got two of 10 in so far and won three of 11 first-serve points.
First set: Zverev 1-1 Thiem*
Zverev answers with an easy opening service game of his own, closing out the hold with a 136mph ace out wide followed by a 135mph ace down the middle.
Three years after Vogue magazine tabbed Thiem and Zverev as the sport’s next big stars in its September issue, one of them will finally break through for their first career major championship today.
Zverev is the youngest men’s grand slam finalist since Novak Djokovic, who was also 23 years old when he reached the 2010 US Open final. He’s looking to become the youngest major champion since Juan Martin del Potro, who was 20 when he won at Flushing Meadows back in 2009. He can also become the first German man to win a major since Boris Becker at the 1996 Australian Open and would join Becker as only the second man from Germany to win the US Open.
This is also the youngest grand slam final since Djokovic, then 24, faced Nadal, 25, in the 2012 Australian Open final – and assures us the first ever major champion born in the 1990s and 63 straight born in the 80s.
Thiem can become only the second Austrian grand slam champion after Thomas Muster, the 1995 French Open champion. As mentioned, he is looking to win his first major title in his fourth appearance in a final. The other four men in the Open era who lost their first three major finals each went on to win at least one: Goran Ivanisevic (who broke through at 2001 Wimbledon), Andy Murray (2012 US Open), Andre Agassi (1992 Wimbledon) and Ivan Lendl (1984 Roland Garros).
Tale of the tape
Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the US Open men’s singles final between Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Today’s showdown between two of the tour’s most promising young talents of the past few years will see a first-time grand slam champion on the men’s side for the first time since Marin Cilic won the 2014 US Open. It’s the 23-year-old Zverev’s first major final and the 27-year-old Thiem’s fourth after losses to Rafael Nadal at the last two French Open and a defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open earlier this year.