I couldn’t help but think about my comments after the semi-finals during the first couple of sets of the men’s final last night it. When talking about Thiem, It read, “I think he’s ready to make that official step up now though and he looks strong mentally. His level of tennis is also consistently high. I’m not sure Zverev is ready for that step just yet. It hasn’t looked like it so far.” This didn’t look like it was going to be the case. I was right in the sense that Zverev would raise his game but Thiem came out very edgy and Sascha was just swinging from the hip on the forehand.
The truth by the end of the match was that my feelings were right. Sascha lead by two sets and a break before ‘The Dominator’ joined the party and gave the German something to think about. Having taken the third set, it was no surprise Thiem took this to a fifth. It was in the decider where things got really interesting. Thiem got the early break but nerves set in again and Zverev didn’t only break back but went a break-up. The German found himself serving for it at *5/3 but unsurprisingly nerves set in there. You thought that if Thiem could hold for 5/5 it would surely be his title to claim, he did hold. The craziness of the decider then saw Thiem break straight again. This time he would be serving for the Championship.
The problem was that having broken with a few on the run forehand winners, he was struggling with cramps. Something they both suffered from, not physically but mentally. Zverev was hitting second serves down as low as 67mph by this stage. Thiem lost his serve again and having trailed by a mini-break in the tiebreak, the balance looked to have switched again. It was here that Thiem managed to keep his level and put in one final push. He just kept his composure that little bit better and dialled in. The Austrian just went for his shots a bit more by the end and fortune favours the brave. Not only that but more importantly he dealt with the situation.
I felt for Sascha after, he was clearly distraught during the interviews and presentation. He felt a sense of guilt that he hadn’t won for his parents but gave his pal, Thiem all the credit. I have said it before but the fact he isn’t anywhere near the finished article yet bodes very well for him. As for Thiem, he has reached an end goal now. That all elusive first Grand Slam title. It has been coming and he has looked like the natural heir to the thrown for a while. He becomes the first player since Stan in 2016 to win a slam outside of the big three.
Andy Del Potro