Austria’s Dominic Thiem and Germany’s Alexander Zverev will face off at Flushing Meadows as the two tennis stars battle to become the first new men’s Grand Slam singles champion in six years.
No. 2 seed Thiem has reached three Grand Slam finals, but lost them all as he was beaten twice by Rafael Nadal at the French Open and once to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.
Zverev, meanwhile, is making his first-ever appearance in a Grand Slam final with his biggest career title the ATP Tour Finals title in 2018.
It means a new name will be added to the list of tennis’ Grand Slam winners when the pair face off in New York later tonight, but the landmark nature of the match for both players isn’t going to get in the way of the most important factor – the result.
“From the moment Novak was out of the tournament, it was clear that there’s going to be a new Grand Slam champion,” said Thiem.
“From that moment on, that was also out of my mind. I was just focusing on the remaining guys left in the draw.”
Thiem has looked in rock-solid form in this year’s tournament, having progressed with straight-set victories in each of his last three matches.
He’ll take on Zverev, who’ll be out for revenge after losing out to the Belgian in the semi-finals of the Australian Open at the start of the year.
Zverev had to fight back from two sets down to book his place in the final as he defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in the semi-finals.
“I looked at the scoreboard, I’m down two sets to love in a Grand Slam semi-final. I knew I had to start playing better, to give myself a chance,” said Zverev.
“I wanted to give myself … set by set just the opportunity to stay in the match. That’s what I did.”
The matchup pits one of the most dominant servers in the game against one of the most solid operators, with Zverev’s 116 aces in the tournament dwarfing Thiem’s 41.
On the flip-side, Thiem has played much better in clutch situations, having made nearly 70 fewer unforced errors than Zverev across the course of the tournament.
Thiem also has a significant advantage in the head-to-head stats between the pair, with the Belgian winning seven of their nine previous meetings heading into tonight’s final.
“The moment we start the finals, we both want to win with everything we have. That’s all I focus on. A good record against Sascha, it doesn’t help me at all,” said Thiem.
“I expect a very tough, very open match. I guess that’s what it’s going to be.”