The recently finished US Open was one of the most unusual tournaments in New York in the Open era. Staged with no crowd, tennis fans over the world had witnessed the first Major since 1999 without Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the main draw.
The Cincinnati champion Novak Djokovic was the player to beat, seeking his 18th Major in the absence of his greatest rivals and making a strong start. Still, Novak's journey ended in the fourth round against Pablo Carreno Busta when he got defaulted for the first time in a career after hitting the lines judge with the ball.
That left the door open for the other eight players to reach their first Major trophy from the quarter-final stage. Dominic Thiem used the opportunity to lift the first Major title, following a tight victory over Alexander Zverev in a historic final.
Speaking about the US Open final, Novak Djokovic praised Thiem and his qualities, saying the Austrian deserves a Major crown after losing the first three finals against him and Rafael Nadal. Still, Novak is hoping the 'big 3' will restore the order and steal more Major titles ahead of their closest rivals in the next couple of years.
It was the first US Open final decided in the fifth-set tie break, with Thiem prevailing 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 in four hours and two minutes. Thus, Dominic became the first player since Roland Garros 2004 to overcome two sets to love deficit in a Major final, raising his level in the second set's closing stages and crossing the finish line first after a thriller.
Thiem couldn't find his strokes early on, feeling the pressure of being the favorite and having to deliver much better tennis against the opponent who was also chasing the first Major trophy. With no room for errors, the Austrian bounced back in sets three and four, giving his everything in the decider despite physical issues.
Novak Djokovic praised Dominic Thiem and said he deserves a Major title.
Zverev started all over in set number five, stealing Dominic's serve in the eighth game and moving a game away from the trophy. Nonetheless, the youngster hit a costly double fault to suffer a break and keep the Austrian alive, with Thiem leveling the score at 5-5.
With momentum on his side, Dominic broke again to move 6-5 in front, failing to serve out for the victory and allowing Zverev to reach the deciding tie break. Alexander saved two match points at 4-6, only to drop the next two points and hand the trophy to Dominic, who became the first player born in the 90s with one of the most notable titles in his hands.
"It was expected to see Dominic Thiem as a Major champion, knowing his quality and that he had already competed in three Major finals before the US Open. It's great for tennis in general and our fans, but I think they still want to see me, Roger and Rafa fighting for Major titles in the next couple of years," Novak Djokovic said.