New York (AP) – Despite trailing 0-2 in the semi-finals, tennis pro Alexander Zverev has reached the final of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.
At the US Open in New York, the 23-year-old from Hamburg won a thrilling and initially bizarre five-set match against Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta in 3:22 hours 3: 6, 2: 6, 6: 3, 6: 4, 6: 3.
In the final on Sunday (10:00 PM CEST / Eurosport), the seventh in the world ranking will meet his good friend Dominic Thiem in a new edition of the Australian Open semi-final this year. The 27-year-old Austrian won his semi-final against Russian Daniil Medvedev 6: 2, 7: 6 (9: 7), 7: 6 (7: 5). In Melbourne, he had reached a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time at the beginning of the year, but lost to Thiem for the month-long hiatus of the tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A few hours earlier, the German Fed Cup player Laura Siegemund had secured the title in the doubles. The 32-year-old from Metzingen and her Russian partner Vera Swonarewa defeated Nicole Melichar / Xu Yifan from the US and China 6: 4, 6: 4. It is the first title win of a German in doubles in Flushing Meadows since Claudia Kohde- Kilsch, who won the title in 1985 together with Helena Sukova from what was then Czechoslovakia.
For the first time ever, Zverev was 2-0 set behind and was the first German tennis player since Michael Stich to reach the final at Flushing Meadows in 1994. He is the youngest Grand Slam finalist since Novak Djokovic at the US Open for ten years ago and the first German in the final at one of the four most important tournaments since Rainer Schüttler at the Australian Open 17 years ago.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was 2-0 behind, and that as a favorite. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew I had to play better tennis. I’m in my first Grand Slam. Final, that is the most important thing, “said Zverev.” I couldn’t be happier, but there’s one more step to be taken. “
He was miserable in the game against the world’s number 27. started. “He is not in balance with the base strokes”, was the interim analysis of three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker on the TV channel Eurosport. The number 27 in the world went to 1: 3. from Gijon in the first set, Zverev played the service game.
When the German’s backhand landed in the net after 40 minutes, the first round was decided. In the second set things got worse: Zverev got a break in the first game. He struggled, but former top ten player Carreño Busta knew the better answer and played hard and calm. After 85 minutes, Zverev trailed 0-2 in sets and seemed almost on his way to the “John F. Kennedy” airport.
On his way to his first Grand Slam final, Carreño Busta was indirectly involved in the world’s number one scandal, Djokovic. The Spaniard had caused problems for the Serbian top player in the round of 16 and took over the serve from him to 6: 5 in the first set. Djokovic then hit the ball without looking back and hit a linesman who went down and had breathing problems. Djokovic was disqualified, Carreño Busta made it to the quarter-finals, defeating Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
“When I was 3: 6 and 2: 6 behind, I thought to myself, I can’t finish a Grand Slam semifinal like that,” said Zverev. “I didn’t have a chance, I played badly.” After losing the second set, he left the chair – and came back completely transformed. He got stronger now, played more precisely and made fewer mistakes.
With the set win to 6: 3, hope germinated again. In the fourth round, it was equally annoying when Carreño Busta hit a hard ball directly on Zverev’s body with a score of 3: 5. The Spaniard immediately apologized, but Zverev looked over the net with a mixture of incomprehension and incompatibility. . “Well, it’s part of the game, but he had the whole field clear to him,” Zverev said later. With an ace, he used his fourth set ball to tie 2-2.
For the fifth round, Carreño Busta had to have his back treated and took a three-minute medical break. Zverev took advantage of this weak phase and immediately took a 1-0 lead at half time. Moments later, Zverev left the first match point unused, after which a backhand from the Spaniard landed in the net.