US Open 2020: Austrian Dominic Thiem grinds past Russia’s Daniil Medvedev to reach final

New York:  Austria`s Dominic Thiem advanced to his second Grand Slam final of 2020, digging out a win over third seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) at the US Open on Friday.

“For sure (it was) the toughest straight-sets win I ever had because could have been easily completely different,” said Thiem, who will compete for his first-ever Grand Slam title in the men`s final on Sunday against Germany`s Alexander Zverev.

Thiem seized the early momentum inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium, handily carrying the first set without dropping a single first-serve point, but a double fault and a forehand error saw him hand Medvedev the break and the early lead in the second.

Thiem, who has lost in three Grand Slam finals and never claimed a major title, spent the remainder of the set playing catch up, converting on a critical break to level the score 5-5 before the 24-year-old Russian dragged it into a tiebreak.

Medvedev kept his energy up as he traded blows with his opponent, triumphing in an epic, 33-shot rally early in the tiebreak, but his efforts came up short.

“He just doesn`t miss when I play with his rhythm. So I tried to destroy that a little bit with lot of slices, with also high balls with a lot of spin. That was what was the plan,” Thiem said.

The 27-year-old Thiem, who had a trainer examine his ankle before the third set, slipped and fell twice in the match, unfurling a string of frustrated exclamations the second time he did so. But he regained his cool to survive yet another tiebreak and clinched the affair with a power forehand and a roar.

“I played my best tennis then towards the end of the sets,” said Thiem, who saved six of eight break point opportunities during the match, committing a dozen fewer unforced errors than his opponent.

“Both tiebreaks were amazing. Tiebreaks are mentally a tough thing. I don`t like them at all to be honest,” he said. “I`m really happy to be through. It was a great semi-final.”

Medvedev, who fired off a dozen aces in the match, showed shades of his bad boy persona seen in his 2019 run to the US Open final. He offered a sarcasm-drenched apology in the first set after crossing to the other side of the net to lobby for a late challenge, earning a violation in the process.

“I think I killed someone, right?” he said to a tournament supervisor in the stands, adding to the umpire, “My sincere apologies for crossing the net.”


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Sagar Biswas

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