US Open Day 12: Zverev and Thiem to meet in final
US Open Day 12: Zverev and Thiem to meet in final
Germany's Alexander Zverev will play Austrian Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s US Open final after the pair came through their semifinals in very different styles on Friday.
Zverev reached his first Grand Slam final after fighting back from two sets down to beat Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, before Thiem overcame Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.
In the wheelchair events, Australia's Dylan Alcott was among Friday's winners as finalists were decided across singles and doubles.
Thiem too strong for Medvedev
Second seed Thiem and third seed Medvedev squared off in a much-anticipated clash between the two tournament favourites following the early exit of top seed Novak Djokovic - and it was the Austrian’s attacking game which prevailed over three tough sets.
Thiem fell a break behind in the second and third sets, and saw a 5-1 lead slip in the third set tiebreak, before coming through what he later called “the toughest straight-sets win I ever had”.
He took the opening set with a couple of breaks as Medvedev’s usually metronomic baseline game misfired with 13 unforced errors, and when Thiem then recovered from a break down in the second to edge a tiebreak, he appeared in total control.
However, signs of discomfort with an Achilles issue opened the door for Medvedev and the Russian moved into a 5-3 lead in the third set, but he could not convert as Thiem gathered himself for another charge.
Thiem held his serve in a second tense tiebreak to close it out 6-2 7-6(7) 7-6(5) after two hours and 55 minutes to reach his first US Open and fourth Grand Slam final.
Zverev makes major breakthrough
After little over an hour of the first men's semifinal, there looked to be no way back for Zverev.
The German, who reached his first major semifinal at the Australian Open in January, dropped serve five times and made a brutal 36 unforced errors to fall two sets behind.
However, Zverev - who had never recovered from a two-set deficit before - began to reign in the errors in the third, breaking serve twice to grab a foothold in the match.
By the time he had levelled up at two sets all, it was Carreno Busta who was struggling, requiring the trainer as the effects of a five-set quarterfinal win looked to take hold.
Zverev's serve finally swung into top gear in the decider and an early break proved enough as he powered through 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 after three hours and 22 minutes.
Alcott eyes third singles title
Top seed and world No.1 Dylan Alcott remains on course for a third US Open quad singles title after winning his opening two round-robin matches.
The Australian has done enough to make it through to Sunday’s singles final, and he will also team up with Britain's Andy Lapthorne as defending champions to face Sam Schroder and David Wagner in the doubles final on Saturday.
In the wheelchair singles, Diede de Groot of the Netherlands and Britain's Alfie Hewitt are each one win away from a hat-trick of US Open titles, and they will face Japan's Yui Kamiji and Shingo Kunieda respectively in their finals.
Quotes of the day
“If I win, I have my first, if not, I have to call Andy Murray [and ask] how it is with 0-4.”
- Dominic Thiem on the prospect of winning a first Grand Slam title
“Sunday is going to be extremely difficult no matter who I play of those guys. But I'm looking forward to it. Yeah, I'm in the final of a Grand Slam. The two best players in the world are going to be playing on court.”
- Alexander Zverev
“Today I feel worst, for sure. Three years ago was my first semifinals. I was very happy to do the semifinals. But I think that now it's not enough we do the semifinals again. It was a good opportunity to continue winning the matches, to try to win the title. With two sets to zero up, is tough to lose, no?”
- Pablo Carreno Busta
“I felt already the rounds before, I'm like very emotional usually at the end of a match. I'm, like, screaming and jumping. I want to hug my partner, I have this urge. That was always kind of awkward to stay away from each other, do that pretty cold racquet move. Today I was like, What the heck. But I asked permission at least.”
- Doubles champion Laura Siegemund on asking permission to hug partner Vera Zvonareva
“It's special to win a Grand Slam. I guess it was important to do that.”
- Vera Zvonareva
Stat of the day
Zverev hit 22 unforced errors in the second set alone as his game appeared to be unravelling in the semifinal against Carreno Busta.
The scale of his turnaround in form was marked by the numbers in the final three sets - 21 unforced errors in total, 46 winners, and 39 of 46 points behind his first serve.
Day 13: Ones to watch
The women’s singles should reach a suitably dramatic crescendo when former champion Naomi Osaka faces former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s final.
Osaka will be looking to win her third Grand Slam title in as many years, while Azarenka hopes to add number three a full seven years since she won back-to-back Australian Open titles.
They are the form duo in women’s tennis and were due to meet in the US Open warm-up event, also played at Flushing Meadows, before Osaka withdrew as a precaution over an hamstring injury concern.
Judging by the quality of their semifinal victories over Jennifer Brady and Serena Williams, both players will be at 100% for this showdown.
Saturday will also see Australia’s Dylan Alcott and Britain's Andy Lapthorne defending their wheelchair quad doubles title, while Diede de Groot of the Netherlands takes on Japan's Yui Kamiji in the wheelchair singles final.