Zverev left reeling after Grand Slam slips through his fingers

Dominic Thiem takes on Alexander Zverev in the US Open men's final

The fifth seed said the turning point in the four-hour thriller came when Thiem broke his serve for the first time in the third set, a break which reversed the momentum of the match.

The 27-year-old world number three appeared to have blown his golden chance as he fell two sets behind but hit back to become the first player to win a Grand Slam from having trailed by two sets since Gaston Gaudio at the 2004 French Open.

Thiem lost only one set before Sunday's final as he became the first first-time Slam victor since Marin Cilic won the U.S. Open in 2014.

Zverev broke right back, and pierced the silence with a rare cry of "Come on!", when Thiem double-faulted.

It turned out that Thiem, who developed a chummy rapport with struggle by spending the front part of his career banging his head gamely against the hardest ceiling in tennis history - the "Big Three" of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - knew how to struggle just one inch better.

Thiem, looking the more exhausted and perhaps cramping, broke for 6-5 when Zverev sent a forehand well long, but he too failed to serve it out after a brief visit from the trainer.

Thiem will now face heavier expectations in future Grand Slams but has proved he is not one to shy away from pressure.

The pair traded breaks at the start of the fifth before the contest settled into a seesaw battle of endurance until the eighth game when Zverev took a break point opportunity after forcing a wounded Thiem into a backhand error.

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"But remember when we played Madrid finals, you told me I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna win this title, and I tell you the same here today".

Tonight, for the first time since 2014, we will see a first-time men's major victor when either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev are told they can lift the trophy. I said to myself, "I'm playing bad, I'm way too tight, legs are heavy, arms are heavy". What upset me the most is not the third set, it's the fifth set.

The No. 2 seed took the third set 6-4, keeping alive his hopes of winning his first Grand Slam title.

- Thiem's head-to-head against Zverev has now improved to 8-2.

Speaking after his remarkable victory over Alexander Zverev in Sunday night's epic final, Thiem said, "Definitely achieved a life goal, a dream, which I had for many, many years".

"There are some special people missing in the crowd today. I'm going to have enough time to recover from all the troubles I had", he said. I miss them. This is hard. "I wish you would have missed a little bit more so I could have held that trophy up", he added.

During the on-court trophy presentation Zverev tearfully thanked his parents, whom he said had both contracted the novel coronavirus. "I'm sure they're sitting at home and even though I lost, they're pretty proud".

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