Thiem, Zverev into US Open final

NEW YORK (AFP) – Dominic Thiem of Austria will play Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the US Open final for their first Grand Slam titles after they won their last-four matches in contrasting styles on Friday night.

Second seed Thiem ousted third-seeded Russian and last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev in a closely fought three-setter that was packed with powerful baseline rallies and impressive serving.

The 27-year-old Thiem won 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) 7-6 (7/5) in two hours 56 minutes inside Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach his fourth Grand Slam final.

Earlier, Zverev came from two sets down to complete a remarkable comeback against 20th-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and reach his first tennis major final.

The 23-year-old German won an error-strewn, scrappy encounter 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in three hours 23 minutes, also on the famous Ashe court.

It marked the first time in Zverev’s career that he came from two sets behind to win.

Dominic Thiem (L) will face Alexander Zverev in the US Open men’s final. PHOTOS: AFP

“I actually looked at the scoreboard when I was down two sets to love,” Zverev said.

“I was like, ‘I can’t believe it. I’m playing in a semi-final, I’m supposed to be the favourite and I have no chance’, I’m playing that bad.”

Zverev made 36 unforced errors in the first two sets compared to just 12 for Carreno Busta as the nerves of the occasion seemed to get the better of him. But Zverev began to cut down on his mistakes in the third set, upping his service game and taking control of rallies with more powerful, accurate groundstrokes.

“I started taking the ball more on the rise. I started giving myself the chance to be the one that is aggressive,” said the German, adding, “I’m through to my first Grand Slam final and that’s all that matters.”

Carreno Busta said he had lost “a big opportunity” to reach a first Slam final.

“I made the semi-finals here. I know that is a good result, is a good performance, but now in this moment it’s tough,” he told reporters.

Zverev becomes the first German man to reach the final of a tennis major since Rainer Schuttler at the 2003 Australian Open.

This year’s US Open field has been depleted by the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The tournament was blown wide open by the disqualification of world number one and heavy favourite Novak Djokovic in the last 16 for hitting a line judge with the ball.

It means tonight’s final will see a first-time Grand Slam champion for the first time since Croatian Marin Cilic won at Flushing Meadows in 2014.

It also means there will be a Grand Slam champion other than Djokovic, Nadal or Federer for the first time since Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka won the third of his tennis majors at the US Open in 2016.