The U.S. Open didn’t have the same buzz around the tournament as we’ve come to expect. But it certainly didn’t lack drama. The tournament concluded on Sunday with Naomi Osaka as women’s champion and Dominic Thiem as the men’s champion. Here’s how things went down for both champions.
Naomi Osaka Wins 2nd US Open Title Of Young Career
Naomi Osaka recovered from a horrific first set to beat Victoria Azarenka and win the 2020 US Open women’s title. A dazzling first set by Azarenka helped make the numbers on the final stat sheet similar. But that wasn’t the story. Rather, it was about the way Osaka slowly gathered her game to win her second US Open title in three years. It was also the third major of her career at just 22-years-old.
It’s been 25 years since the loser of the first set in a US Open women’s singles final came back to win. Osaka won just 15 points, made 13 unforced errors and managed to win just four points against the serve of Azarenka. But, Osaka remained mentally tough after a 1-6 drubbing in the first set. She was never rattled, not even after she also lost her first service game of the second set. She broke Azarenka back immediately and then hit two aces to level the set. That signaled the beginning of a new stage of the match.
Osaka Both A Champion And An Activist
Osaka would go on to win the second set 6-3, then completed the comeback by winning the third set by the same score. The youngster may have looked down and out, but her ability to handle adversity is ultimately what propelled her. That, and a profound purpose guided her. Osaka had set aside seven masks prior to the tournament. Each bore the name of a person killed as the result of racial injustice or police brutality. She was able to wear each one. It was her mission to give a voice to the voiceless, and it helped motivate her.
Propelled into stardome after winning the US Open in 2018, Osaka has become one of the highest paid women’s athletes in the world. She will move up to the #3 spot in the Tennis World Rankings. With her victory she has quickly carved out a career path set to parallel greats like Serena Williams, a big influence. Osaka is American. Her mother is Japanese and father is Haitian.
Dominc Thiem Wins First Major In Comeback Fashion
Dominic Thiem defeated Alexander Zverev in an epic five-set match, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), to win the men’s singles title at the 2020 US Open. It was Thiem’s first Grand Slam title. And he became the first player in the Open Era to rally from two sets down in a US Open final. Thiem is also the first player to capture a Grand Slam title from two sets down since Gaston Gaudio at 2004 French Open. And for the first time in six years, there was a first-time Grand Slam champion at the US Open.
Thiem joins Thomas Muster as the only Austrian men to win a Grand Slam championship. Prior to the US Open, Thiem had lost his three other appearances in Grand Slam finals. His most recent loss was to Novak Djokovic in five-sets at this year’s Australian Open.
Thiem won the match by battling back from losing the first two sets to win three straight sets, including a fifth set tiebreaker. It is the second consecutive year that the US Open men’s singles final has gone the distance, and fourth consecutive Grand Slam men’s singles final to have gone five sets.
Epic 5th Set Goes To Tiebreak
With Zverev serving for the match in the fifth set at 5-3, Thiem broke at 40-30 and followed it up with three exceptional points, including back-to-back forehand winners to level the set at five apiece. In the fifth set tiebreaker, Thiem saved two championship points on second serves. Zverev suffered from two double faults and for the winning point, Thiem passed Zverev at the net. It was an epic final. Tennis deserved it considering that neither Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic were playing in a final for the first time in memory. Djokovic was the only member of the big three in this tournament and was notably disqualified after accidentally striking an official with a ball in his fourth round match.