2020, US Open

31 August – 13 September, 2020

As many as nine players of the Top 50 skipped the event, including three multiple Grand Slam champions: Nadal [2], Federer [4], Monfils [9], Fognini [12], Wawrinka [15], Paire [23], Nishikori [34], Kyrgios [40] and Tsonga [50]. Among them only Paire wanted to take part in the event but wasn’t allowed after being Corona virus positive. The tournament was deprived of qualifying draw! The main favorite to win it, Djokovic [1] was defaulted in the fourth round after hitting a lines-woman in the throat with a ball – first disqualification at majors since Koubek at French Open 2000!

Final: (2)Dominic Thiem d. (5)Alex Zverev   2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(6)

Thiem completed an unprecedented comeback on Sunday at the US Open, rallying from two sets down and 3:5 in the fifth set to defeat Zverev for his maiden Grand Slam title. This was the first US Open final to be decided by a fifth-set tie-break. Thiem, 27, is the first player in the Open Era to rally from two sets down in a US Open final. He also became the first Grand Slam champion born in the 1990s, along with the 55th Grand Slam champion of the Open Era and the 150th of all time. ”We started to know each other back in 2014 and straight away started to develop a great friendship… and then a great rivalry,” Thiem said. “We’ve made great things happen on the court and off the court. It’s amazing how far our journey brought us to share this moment. I wish we could have two winners today. We both deserved it.” Thiem joined Thomas Muster (1995 Roland Garros) as the only Austrian men to win a major championship. He lost his first three Grand Slam finals, most recently in an epic five-set battle to Djokovic at this year’s Australian Open. As the match moved deep into the fifth set, it became more about mental fortitude than technical skill. Zverev fought through nerves by moving forward and was rewarded by breaking Thiem at 4:3 with an aggressive forehand approach. But he tightened up when it came time to serve out the match. A routine forehand error and ill-advised serve-and-volley play contributed to Zverev dropping serve. He came within two points of victory in the next game, but Thiem ripped two big down-the-line forehand winners to even the score. An emboldened Thiem broke Zverev once more at 5-all after the fifth seed hit a forehand error. With his maiden Grand Slam title one game away, it was the Austrian’s turn to get nervous. Facing break point at 6:5, the 29th in total for the match, he floated slice backhands down the middle of the court and enabled Zverev to rip a forehand winner. Half of the games in the fifth set ended in service breaks, with Zverev dropping serve seven times and Thiem eight times throughout their epic battle. As they moved to a fifth-set tie-break, the punishing rallies began to affect Thiem physically. He was unable to push off on his serve and often spun in first-serve deliveries under 100 mph. Despite his hampered movement, a pair of costly double faults from Zverev helped bring Thiem to a 6/4 lead and two championship points. Zverev hit 15 double faults in the match and only won 41 per cent of second-serve points. Thiem squandered the first match point by hitting a short forehand into the net and couldn’t capitalise on a 68 mph second serve from Zverev at 6/5. He managed to regroup and cracked a forehand passing shot at 6/6 for a third championship point. The Austrian collapsed to the ground in delight after Zverev hit a backhand wide to wrap up play two minutes over the four-hour mark. Thiem won 163 points on the night compared to 159 for Zverev (they had won the same number after the four sets – 119). ”I want to congratulate Dominic on the first of many Grand Slam titles. I wish you could have missed a little more so I could be holding that trophy up, but here I am giving the runner-up speech,” Zverev said. “I want to thank my team for sticking with me. The past two years haven’t been easy in my tennis career. We’re definitely on the way up and I hope that one day we’re going to lift that trophy up together.” Stats of the final.

2nd semifinal: (2)Dominic Thiem d. (3)Daniil Medvedev  6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5)

Thiem overcame a right ankle injury, a set point in the second and third sets, and the relentless counter-punching of third seed Medvedev to reach his first US Open final on Friday. The second seed dug deep and displayed his trademark fighting spirit to outlast Medvedev. “I love these big matches. To face the best guys in the world is what I do the hard work for at home and in the off-season,” Thiem said on court after the match. “After the first set, it was great tennis from both of us. I could have easily been down two-sets-to-one. I’m really happy to be through. It was a great semi-final.” Medvedev arrived to the match having only been broken three times in 68 service games. Thiem failed to convert his first two break points, but a controversial moment on his third opportunity at 3:2 gave him the first break of the night (the umpire didn’t allow Medvedev to challenge his serve which was long but called good). As a frustrated Medvedev pleaded his case, Thiem told the umpire to let him challenge. The call ultimately stood and Medvedev later apologised to the Austrian for the disruption in play. But the moment threw Medvedev off mentally and Thiem capitalised. He took eight of the next nine points to grab the early advantage. Medvedev quickly regrouped and broke Thiem to start the second set after the Austrian played an uncharacteristically patchy game. The 24-year-old also began to impose himself more on serve. Medvedev won 65 per cent of first-serve points in the opening set, but that number exceeded 90 per cent late in the second set. But first deliveries inside the service box were few and far between when Medvedev served for the set at 5:4. Thiem capitalised and opened the game with a pair of baseline winners, then broke as the Russian dumped a forehand into the net. An epic six-deuce game followed at 5-all as Thiem fought through visible nerves by charging the net behind aggressive forehand approaches. He bravely fought off five break points before holding with a forehand winner. Thiem erased a set point with a big serve at 5/6 in the tie-break, only to see Medvedev match that effort serving at 6/7. But an ill-advised drop shot from the third seed at 7/7 landed in the middle of the court and Thiem crunched a forehand winner for another set point. He made good on the second opportunity with another aggressive forehand and took a commanding advantage. The gruelling rallies started to take their toll on the Austrian. He received a medical timeout at the end of the second set for treatment on his right ankle. But Medvedev experienced déjà vu with how the third set played out. Although Thiem was still able to scamper around the baseline, Medvedev continued to test his opponent’s ankle and scored an immediate break when the Austrian mistimed a down-the-line backhand. But Medvedev again failed to serve out a set and was broken at 5:3 after missing a routine forehand. A tired backhand error from Medvedev in the tie-break gave Thiem an early mini-break and a double fault three points later pushed Thiem to a 4/0 advantage. Thiem held two match points at 6/4 and converted his second after a forehand error from Medvedev wrapped up play after 2 hours and 55 minutes. Stats of the match.

1st semifinal: (5)Alexander Zverev d. (20)Pablo Carreno   3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

Zverev completed a stunning comeback on Friday in the US Open semi-finals, rallying past Carreno to reach his first Grand Slam final. Entering the match, the fifth seed had never rallied from two sets down. But he showed great mental fortitude, drastically reducing his unforced errors to earn his 14th five-set victory after 3 hours and 22 minutes. “I’m through to my first Grand Slam final and that’s all that matters,” Zverev said on court after his triumph. “I knew I had to play better. I’d never come back from two sets to love. That was the first time in my career. But I’m happy to do it at this stage, in the semi-final of a Grand Slam. I couldn’t be happier, but there’s still one more step to go for me.” This was the first time since 2011 — and the sixth time in the Open Era — that a player rallied from two sets down in the US Open semi-finals. Novak Djokovic saved two match points against Roger Federer to reach the championship match that year, in which he lifted his first trophy at Flushing Meadows. “I’ll definitely watch it. I’ll probably watch a set or so live. I think those boys might be playing long, though. It’s going to be an interesting match,” Zverev said about the second semifinal (Thiem-Medvedev). “I can’t wait for the final.” Zverev made 36 unforced errors in the first two sets compared to just 12 for Carreno, allowing the 20th seed to build a sizable lead. But the German never panicked or showed excessive frustration, becoming the first German US Open finalist since Michael Stich in 1994. Zverev is now 14-6 in five-setters and Carreno falls to 6-10. “I was looking at the scoreboard when I was down two sets to love. I was like, ‘I cannot believe it. I’m playing in a semi-final where I’m supposed to be the favourite and I’m down two sets to love and I have no chance, I’m playing that bad,'” Zverev said. “I knew that I had to come up with better tennis. I knew I had to be more stable.” While Zverev’s second serve is often scrutinised — and he hit eight double faults — his first serve was clutch in key moments. The 11-time ATP Tour champion crushed 24 aces. He is not known for his net prowess, but Zverev won 74 per cent of his 50 net approaches. At Roland Garros ’04, Carreno lost a similar match in terms of the scoreline (6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 0-6 to Youzhny – it lasted 3 hours).

4th quarterfinal: (2)Dominic Thiem d. (21)Alex de Minaur   6-1, 6-2, 6-4

Thiem overwhelmed De Minaur to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time. The 27-year-old is the first Austrian US Open semi-finalist in tournament history and he will play third seed Medvedev for a spot in the final. “I had a great feeling from the first moment on, actually,” Thiem said on court after his 2-hour, 4-minute victory. “It looks way easier on the scoresheet than it was.” Thiem previously reached the last eight in New York in 2018. After battling Nadal for 4 hours and 49 minutes in an all-time slugfest before falling short in a fifth-set tie-break, the disappointed Austrian said the match was, “going to be stuck in my mind forever”. The 16-time ATP Tour champion has no reason to be disappointed this time. Thiem’s big serving and heavy baseline game proved too much for the 21-year-old Aussie speedster, who simply couldn’t find a solution to make the World No. 3 uncomfortable for long enough stretches. De Minaur is known for his blinding quickness, but he played an aggressive match. The Aussie tried returning Thiem’s serve inside the court and rushing the net to put pressure on the Austrian and push him back. It simply didn’t work. The 21st seed won 18 of his 28 net points, but was only able to win 49 per cent of points behind his first serve. Both players took some time to gain rhythm in the early going, with four of the first six games resulting in service breaks. Thiem rallied from a 0/40 deficit to hold serve for 4:1 in the opening set and he settled in from there. De Minaur pressed to try to gain some momentum, but lost serve twice in the second set by double faulting. It is rare that the Aussie gets frustrated, but he struggled finding a way to make an impact on Thiem’s game, or at least do something to reduce the Austrian’s level. He battled hard throughout the entire match, shouting, ‘Come on!’ whenever he won a good rally or hit an impressive winner.

3rd quarterfinal: (3)Daniil Medvedev d. (10)Andrey Rublev   7-6(6), 6-3, 7-6(5)

Medvedev withstood an early test from Rublev before booking his place in his second straight US Open semi-final with a victory on Wednesday. “It was tough at the end,” said Medvedev. “Maybe the first time in almost a year I celebrated my win because it was very tough at the end. I felt like I could get in trouble, so I was really happy to get the win in the tie-break. One point decided two sets, so it was a really tough match.” The third seed, competing in just his second Grand Slam quarter-final, was dominant on serve, winning 89 per cent of first-serve points (51/57) and saving the only break point he faced. But the crucial point of the match came when he faced a third consecutive set point at 6:5 in the first set. The Russian No. 1 made the conscious decision to hold back and let his opponent dictate the rally. After Rublev missed an attacking forehand by a small margin, Medvedev charged back to claim the opening set and carried his momentum into a successful second set. “In these moments… you feel like you have to fight for every point,” said Medvedev. “At the same time you are like, ‘Okay, I probably lost the set.’ There is more chance of you losing the set from 1/5 than winning it. It was 3/6 on my serve, so I was going for the second serve… On 5/6, I decided not to go for it and he went just a little bit out. I think it was a very tactical game today and I am really happy to go through. Andrey was playing unbelievable actually… He was playing really good, so I am really happy with my win.” In an opening set that featured no break points, both players stood on the baseline and engaged in flat, hard-hitting exchanges. Rublev appeared to have the measure of his opponent, attacking Medvedev’s backhand en route to 5/1 and 6/3 tie-break advantages. But the 2019 runner-up held his nerve when it mattered most. As Rublev attempted to extract one more backhand error, Medvedev found his form on that wing. The 24-year-old turned the set in his favour with backhands up the line and served with power to earn five straight points and a one-set lead. In the no-deuce 3rd set, Rublev was two points away from the set at 5-all in the tie-break. Rublev, just like Carreno, played his first US Open quarterfinal three years ago (lost it to Nadal then).

2nd quarterfinal: (20)Pablo Carreno d. (12)Denis Shapovalov   3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 0-6, 6-3

Despite 76 winners and relentless fighting spirit from No. 12 seed Shapovalov, Carreno remained unflappable in their US Open quarter-final on Tuesday. The No. 20 seed was largely stoic throughout their 4-hour, 9-minute showdown inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Tirelessly retrieving balls and blocking back the onslaught of Shapovalov’s power, Carreno overcame a back injury late in the match and dug deep to prevail for his second US Open semi-final. ”I’m destroyed, but I’m very happy. It’s incredible to be back in the semi-finals,” Carreno Busta said to ESPN’s James Blake after the match. “I think I’m very comfortable on these courts. I think the past months during quarantine was very tough for everyone. I worked very hard with my coach. When you work hard, normally the results arrive. Maybe not in the first tournament, but I’m very lucky to be in the semi-finals.” Carreno and Shapovalov traded breaks to start the match, but it was clear from the onset that Shapovalov would be dictating play with his winners and unforced errors. He was even more energised than usual, yelling when he hit thunderous winners and jogging to his chair after service holds. Shapovalov struck a down-the-line forehand to break again at 4:3 in the opening set and held comfortably in the next game for an early advantage. Service breaks once again highlighted the start of the second set as both men held serve once each in the first six games. As Shapovalov’s first-serve percentage began to drop, his second serve betrayed him. He hit six double faults in the second set and won just eight of 23 second-serve points. Carreno took advantage of the opportunities provided to him, striking a backhand passing shot at 3:2 in the tie-break and converting his third set point with an ace to level the match. Carreno’s relentless retrieving and consistency contributed to Shapovalov’s increased unforced error count and a 4:2 lead for the Spaniard in the third set. But the Canadian continued to battle, earning the break back at 4:3 with powerful baseline play and bravely saving a break point with an ace at 5-all. With the third-set tie-break even at 4/4, Carreno Busta stepped up and played some of his most aggressive tennis of the night. He earned a mini-break with a solid down-the-line backhand, then ripped an unreturned first serve and forehand winner to take a commanding advantage. The gruelling rallies appeared to take their toll on the 29-year-old Spaniard as he began to take more time in between points. Shapovalov opened the fourth set with a forehand winner to break serve, then won 20 of the next 24 points to take their clash to a decider. Carreno received a medical timeout on his lower back before the start of the fifth set. Although his movement improved significantly, Shapovalov appeared to have more energy and bounced between return points even as the match neared the four-hour mark. But Carreno’s steadiness prevailed as Shapovalov’s streakiness proved to be his undoing. A backhand error set up two break points for Carreno at 3:2 and Shapovalov stood in disbelief as he double faulted to give away the break. The Spaniard raised his arms in triumph after a forehand return in the net from Shapovalov, his 76th unforced error of the night, wrapped up the match. The Canadian won seven points more (160-153), he has lost all five tie-breaks he played against Carreno in New York – three years ago the Spaniard won their fourth round clash 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(3).

1st quarterfinal: (5)Alexander Zverev d. (27)Borna Coric  1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 6-3

Zverev was not at his flying best on Tuesday afternoon inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, but he still found a way to win. The fifth seed rallied past long-time rival Coric to reach his first US Open semi-final. Zverev had lost all three of his previous tour-level tie-breaks against Coric, but his calm under pressure proved vital in their quarter-final at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “I just started playing maybe a little bit more aggressive because if I would have played the way I played, that’s not the level for a quarter-final match of a Grand Slam,” Zverev said. “I had to start playing better and I was a little bit more consistent then as well. My serve got better and I thought to myself, ‘I’m down 6-1, 4-2, I have nothing to lose.'” Coric has been Zverev’s kryptonite dating back to their junior days. The Croatian beat the German in the 2013 US Open boys’ singles semi-finals (6-4, 3-6, 6-0) and entered this match leading their ATP Head2Head series 3-1, including a four-set victory in New York three years ago. But Zverev did a better job of reducing his errors when he needed to, triumphing after 3 hours and 24 minutes. The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion is the first German US Open semi-finalist since Boris Becker in 1995. The highest-ranked seed remaining in the top half of the draw will play 12th seed Denis Shapovalov or 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta for a spot in his first major final. It was like déjà vû for Zverev, who lost the first set of his Australian Open quarter-final earlier this year against three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka 1-6, before rallying to beat the Swiss in four sets. On this occasion, Coric led by a set and a break, but he was unable to put away the fifth seed. The 27th seed was two service holds from taking a two-set lead, but Zverev curled a cross-court forehand passing shot for a winner to get back on serve. The German spent a large portion of the match behind the baseline. But from that moment, Zverev reduced his errors, forcing the Croatian to beat him, which he did not. “At some point I told myself, ‘Look, if you keep playing like this, you’re going to be down two sets to love in a blink,'” Zverev said. “I needed to be more aggressive, needed to go into the rallies and be more stable as well. At the end of the day, this is what I did and this is why it worked out for me.” In three of the final four points of the second-set tie-break, Coric had short balls to hammer away, but he missed them all. Zverev let out a loud roar after the Croatian missed a backhand into the net to end the set, and he progressively increased his level from there. Zverev faced a dangerous moment at 5:6 in the third set, when he quickly rushed for a short ball to avoid facing two set points, ultimately cruising through the day’s second tie-break. Zverev closed out the match with a big first serve, immediately turning around towards his camp and cracking a smile. The 23-year-old crushed 18 aces and won 76 per cent of his first-serve points. He hit 52 winners to 46 unforced errors. “It was a very good match, very good competing, as well. In the third and fourth sets, I just felt like he also raised his level,” Coric said. “He was playing some really, really good tennis, because I thought I was not actually playing bad. I just thought he was too good in the third and in the fourth sets.” Coric had won an amazing match in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Croat trailed 1-2, *1:5 (0/30) and saved six match points in the process!