This should be a repeat of the Australian Open final eight months ago. Thiem vs Djokovic, but Novak’s moment of madness ended that possibility, which must make the 27-year-old Austrian somewhat more comfortable going into this US Open final. It will be his third Slam final, only this time there’s no Rafa or Novak across the net.
Alex Zverev is the hype machine that never delivered. Full of promise and hope, he was the next big thing, now he has the chance to prove it. They say you shouldn’t be favored to win a Slam until you’ve actually won one, but so many analysts the last few years had Zverev taking over from the ‘big 3’ but the German always fell short.
It’s time for someone not named Federer, Nadal or Novak to win a Slam. If will be the first time since Wawrinka’s 2016 US Open victory.
Why Zverev will win
This is a tough case to make. He must be gassed after his five set comeback in the semi over the Busta, especially with so few matches in many months. Watching the level of play of that match up against the Medvedev v Thiem semi should make Zverev fans nervous. The only advantage I see here is that his semi victory after being down two sets to love was the first time he’d ever come back from that deficit. He may now feel like he’s got nothing to lose and the pressure is squarely on Thiem, if that’s the case Zverev could win this.
Why Thiem will win
In Slam finals experience counts for a lot. It rare to see a first time finalist win the title, losing two French finals to Rafa and one Aust to Novak is certainly no disgrace and the Austrian would have learnt a lot in those defeats. Thiem has looked good this whole event especially the semi victory over Medvedev. You could say it’s all lead to this moment. Thiem has the firepower, if he keeps his nerve he’ll win.
Even though statistics between players for Slam finals are overrated these ones are telling. Thiem leads Zverev 7-2 overall, 3-1 on hardcourts and 3-0 in Slam matches. The last stat counts the most. In best of five matches if the Thiem rocket groundstrokes are missing he’ll just park himself ten feet behind the baseline, refuse to miss and exhaust his opponent. If the one weakness in Zverev’s game is fitness then it’s red alert for the German. If Zverev comes out with the nothing to lose mentality it could get interesting, if it’s a grind Thiem wins this no doubt.
For his first Grand Slam title Thiem wins this in straight sets.