Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem clinches 2020 US Open Men’s title

Austrian tennis champ Dominic Thiem has been repeatedly knocked out in Grand Slam finals by the game’s icons, but he has always popped to his feet and dusted himself off, eager to try again.

His persistence finally paid off in a big way, as he won the US Open on an extraordinary Sunday afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium, becoming the first man in 71 years to win this title after losing the first two sets of the final.

Thiem fell far behind but patiently tracked down and outlasted his friend and rival, first-time Grand Slam finalist Alexander Zverev, in a match that lasted a tick more than four hours by the score of 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6). Late in the third set, Zverev was six points from wrapping up the match in just two hours.

When the unpredictable match that featured 15 breaks and 31 breakpoints finally ended on a backhand error by Zverev, Thiem fell to the court, with his body forming a nearly perfect “X.” He briefly covered his face with his hands, then rose to meet his good friend, who came around the net to meet him.

There was no socially distanced racket tap to end this one. The men exchanged a stylized handshake of their own and hugged. Zverev cradled Thiem’s head in his right hand, and Thiem let his head rest on the taller man’s shoulder as if he were the one who needed consolation.

Thiem went to his chair and sat back, beaming. Soon he started laughing. Zverev sat on the far side of the umpire’s chair, with his chin resting in his steepled hands, gazing straight ahead. He sat that way for a good long while.

These were the youngest pair of Grand Slam finalists since the 2012 Australian Open, where the opponents were Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. This match did not suffer in comparison to that one, and it hit an even higher note of poignancy because of the friendship between Thiem and Zverev.

Thiem said in his trophy presentation speech, “We [Zverev and Thiem] started to know each other in 2014 when we both were ranked close to 100. We developed a great friendship. Then our rivalry began in 2016 [in Munich, Germany]. We made great things happen on the court and off since then. It’s amazing how far our journey brought us to share this moment. I wish we could have two winners because we both deserved this.

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