The Austrian needs to finish this run at the 2020 U.S. Open.
Even if Novak had recorded his 18th major in NYC this year, no way would we have held the empty seats or the Fedal/Wawrinka-less field against him. Some fanboys would have, but that is just low-IQ noise that only his/her fellow fantards understand.
A win for either Thiem or Zverev will be a legitimate major championship.
This can be rationalized with ease.
Thiem has to win this major. He’s playing the best tennis in the field. He’s been dominating his opponents en route with a complete game that these other players (Medvedev and Zverev, for instance) can not overcome.
Anything but a straight-set win against Zverev would be unfortunate.
I ate crow last night as I posted the “Thiem is Too Nice to Win” mid-second set.
I qualified the claim, as in there is a hint here that he just fucked-up this match.
But this is critical to what happened while I ate crow all night, washing down these spoils with a victorious brew to celebrate (awkwardly) the victory — take my mind off, only momentarily, the smoke filling our southern California skies, the pandemic, and the dumb-ass racist Trumptards littering our streets.
A critical combination reared its head in last night’s 2nd SF that I thought should happen, yet this realization remained veiled until we all witnessed what had finally transpired: a straight set, commanding win for the Austrian.
- Thiem has developed a style of game that can master the five-set conditions. He’s more relaxed, can adjust his game to his opponent, not press but find the form and clutch in those small moments that define matches. This is Novak and Rafa tennis. Thiem is coming-into his own. This is clear from last night, in a match where he wasn’t necessarily dominant, yet he found a way to win. This is so important in sport and in life. Winning ugly is the underbelly of greatness. Federer never quite developed this level. He’d prefer to prance and pirouette. Dominic Thiem has become a very dangerous tennis player.
- Medvedev either played poorly or his awkward style was further exposed, or both.
Medvedev’s serve had been the most effective of the entire field in NYC coming into this match, was virtually unbreakable. He had the break in both the second and third sets and Thiem won each. This is Novak-like, ladies and gentlemen. Maybe not playing the most stellar tennis, yet emerging the clear winner.
Thiem struggled on serve. He was below 60% on FS. I can’t quite wrap my brain around his win in straights other than he has found other ways to establish and maintain an advantage (to be fair, he delivered some huge FS at critical points, BP, etc.). And Medvedev just wasn’t playing very well.
The match was not the most spectacular tennis. Granted, there were some really nice rallies, since that’s Medvedev’s M.O., which Thiem chose to entertain: the sign of maturity from the Austrian. I recall one rally, 30-something shots, a fine exhibition of baseline groundies from both players, both wings, slices, deeper CC shots into corners, concluded with a Thiem DTL BH winner. Great stuff here and there.
Indeed, between the lines one can find some real charisma in the tennis last night. Mostly from Thiem. This wasn’t the fireworks of Thiem vs Nadal U.S. Open 2018 or Thiem vs Djokovic AO 2020.
But there’s something almost as intriguing here as this 27 year-old may be finding a world class form that is world beating in its style and maturity.
Looking forward to seeing this evolving Austrian face Nadal and Djokovic.
Be that as it may, Thiem needs to finish this run tomorrow against Zverev. Sascha’s only real advantage is the serve. 135+ can do all kinds of damage, for sure. But the German needs more than that, I suspect.