Tennis

US Open champion Dominic Thiem sends warning signs to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

US Open champion Dominic Thiem sends warning signs to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

World no. 3 Dominic Thiem has been a man on the mission following his first Major crown at the US Open. The Austrian conquered New York to become the first player born in the 90s with one of the most significant trophies, reducing the gap to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and feeling eager to chase them by the end of the season.

Dominic arrived in Vienna on Tuesday, taking a couple of days off and planning to hit the practice court on the weekend. The 27-year-old will travel to Paris next Wednesday, skipping Hamburg and entering Roland Garros without the official matches on clay after the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite that, the Austrian is confident about his chances at the third and last Major of the season, feeling no pain in his Achilles or muscles. In the previous four years, Thiem reached four Roland Garros semi-finals, losing title matches to Rafael Nadal in 2018 and 2019 and hoping to make a further step and win the trophy in October.

In New York, Thiem toppled seven rivals to embrace Major glory, overpowering Alexander Zverev in the title clash to add his name to Major champions’ immortal list. Following victories over Jaume Munar and Sumit Nagal, Dominic lost a set against a former champion Marin Cilic in the third round, dominating the other three to find himself in the last 16.

In the next two encounters, Thiem took down young guns Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur, advancing into the semis to set the clash against the last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev. Thiem delivered more efficient numbers behind the second serve, defending six out of eight break points and stealing Medvedev’s serve four times, two of those in the opener for a 6-2, 7-6, 7-6 victory.

Daniil had more winners thanks to the final set, but it wasn’t enough to keep him safe, spraying too many errors in the crucial moments as he couldn’t find the way to penetrate the rival and create an open court.

Feeling at 100%, Dominic Thiem is ready to chase Roland Garros crown.

Trailing 5-3 in both sets, the Austrian kept his composure to erase the deficit and reach tie breaks, claiming them both to send Medvedev packing and enter the fourth Major final.

There, Alexander Zverev had a massive chance to steal the trophy from the Austrian, winning the opening two sets and serving for the victory in the decider, only to suffer a 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 loss and propel Thiem over the top.

Dominic couldn’t find his strokes in the opening two sets, bouncing back in the third and fourth and struggling a bit physically in the decider, giving his best to remain in touch. Zverev grabbed a break in the eighth game, serving for the title but suffering a costly break that kept Thiem alive.

They traded breaks in games 11 and 12, cracking under pressure and reaching the deciding tie break to determine the US Open champion for the first time. Zverev saved two match points at 4-6, only to drop the next two points and hand the trophy to the Austrian, who will now seek another Major in Paris in three weeks.

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