Austria’s Dominic Thiem finally claimed his maiden Grand Slam title with a stunning comeback to beat Germany’s Alexander Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6(6) in the U.S. Open final on Sunday.
Dominic Thiem appeared to have blown his golden chance as he fell two sets behind but hit back to become the first player to win a Grand Slam from having trailed by two sets since Gaston Gaudio at the 2004 French Open.
Thiem, who dropped only one set en route to the final, started as favourite but was stifled by nerves early on, trailing by a set and 5-1 as his evening threatened to become a nightmare on an eerie, almost empty Arthur Ashe stadium.
He gradually broke the shackles to hit back from a break down to take the third, however, and Zverev faltered on serve at 3-4 in a high-quality fourth set allowing Thiem to take a slow-burner of a contest to a decider.
With one of the sport’s biggest prizes within reach, both men raised their games in a gripping decider.
The 23-year-old Zverev showed great composure to resist the Thiem charge and served for the title at 5-3.
Earlier, Zverev came from two sets down to complete a remarkable comeback against 20th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and reach his first tennis major final.
He won an error-strewn, scrappy encounter 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in 3hr 23min, also on the famous Ashe court.
It marked the first time in Zverev’s career that he came from two sets behind to win.
“I actually looked at the scoreboard when I was down two sets to love,” Zverev said.
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe it. I’m playing in a semi-final, I’m supposed to be the favourite and I have no chance, I’m playing that bad.”
Zverev made 36 unforced errors in the first two sets compared to just 12 for Carreno Busta as the nerves of the occasion seemed to get the better of him.
Zverev becames the first German man to reach the final of a tennis major since Rainer Schuttler at the 2003 Australian Open.