The 2020 US Open men’s final pits two talented men seeking their maiden slam. Alexander Zverev has long been considered a top talent, but this is his best ever run in a slam, it’s his first slam final and he’s hopng his level of play in slams is finally catching up to his ATP Tour performances. Dominic Thiem knows what it’s like to come up short in the quest for Grand Slam glory, Austria’s top tennis player has lost three slam finals, including this year’s Australian Open, but for the first time he’s favored in a slam final. Will the 4th time be the charm for Thiem? Our panel of Damian Kust, Jim Smith, Steen Kirby, and Nurein Ahmed offer their predictions.
Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev
Jim: This is clearly a huge opportunity for both men, but Thiem looks the man more likely to take it. The Austrian has worn the tag of favourite lightly since Novak Djokovic’s unfortunate fourth-round exit, and has played some excellent tennis this fortnight. Zverev has enough quality to make a match of this, particularly if he can maintain a high first-serve percentage, but it is hard to see him overcoming Thiem’s power and accuracy in the baseline exchanges. Thiem in 4
Nurein: What really impressed me in Alexander Zverev’s comeback win over Pablo Carreno Busta was his resilience. Never before in his Grand Slam career had he recovered from a two-sets to love deficit, and after an absolute stinker of a second set, I did not see it coming. The jury was out on Zverev at the majors where he struggled so often in the early rounds and didn’t have enough left in the tank to make a deep run. The verdict has changed now and in making his maiden Grand Slam final, he has broken new ground. Can he overcome Austria’s finest Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s championship match?
Thiem’s straight-sets win over last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev was anything but easy. He had to rally big-time in second and third sets, and fought through an apparent ankle injury to reach his fourth Grand Slam final. Will he finally break his duck? or as he put it in his post match interview, be a phone call away from Andy Murray to see how to turn around a 0-4 record in finals. Thiem would be an obvious pick to end his Grand Slam wait and I think he starts as favorite. Zverev cannot afford another lacklustre start in this match as the Austrian is a tireless worker and a formiddable athlete. Assuming his ankle is not a concern, the 27-year-old should rompt to victory in style. Thiem in 4
Damian: Even despite reaching his first Major final, Alexander Zverev hasn’t been playing his best tennis this fortnight, being forced to grind out almost every one of his six wins. With six sets lost already, he’ll also be arriving in the championship match pretty worn out. But it’s not his possible exhaustion that makes me go for Dominic Thiem. Zverev is playing very tentatively, outlasting his opponents. This just won’t cut it against the Austrian and the German will have to massively change his game plan. Thiem is playing great at the moment though, hitting hard but precise groundstrokes and using his slice to great effect. Zverev is fast and has a big serve but compared to Thiem’s variety, this should be a relatively straightforward final. Expect the German to fail to come out of his comfort zone well enough to give Thiem a scare. Thiem in 3
Steen: This is a relatively even match on paper, but Thiem is slightly more accomplished in his career, and has certainly been playing better on the courts of the US Open. Zverev’s huge comeback in the semifinals was a show of mental strength and fitness, but Thiem represents a different level of challenge. Anything is possible, but Thiem is the highest ranked player left in the tournament for a reason, and he’s playing like the #2 seed. Thiem should have the superior mindset to win this match. Thiem in 4