Dusan Lajovic set up a meeting with Rafael Nadal as a host of seeds and big names fell by the wayside at the Internazionali d'Italia on Thursday.

Neither Novak Djokovic nor Nadal was in action after scoring victories a day earlier, but there was no shortage of shocks.

Home hopeful and seventh seed Fabio Fognini was among those to lose, going down 7-5 7-6 (7-4) to Ugo Humbert.

The match saw a remarkable 11 breaks of serve, including the first six games of the opener before Fognini was broken to love, then losing an early advantage in the second-set tie-break.

He was joined in making an early exit by US Open quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev.

Beaten by brilliant Russian compatriot Daniil Medvedev in the last eight at Flushing Meadows, Rublev lost in three sets to Hubert Hurkacz on this occasion.

Fifth seed Gael Monfils succumbed 6-2 6-4 to qualifier Dominik Koepfer, while Milos Raonic fell to Lajovic as the Serbian secured the Nadal clash, landing a 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-2 success.

Kei Nishikori also tumbled out as he struggles to regain his rhythm on the ATP Tour.

The former world number four was appearing in just his second tournament of the year due to an elbow injury and then the coronavirus pandemic but could not get past Lorenzo Musetti.

Musetti, an 18-year-old qualifier, had already dumped out Stan Wawrinka and said after his 6-3 6-4 success: "I think I played really smart. It was different to Wawrinka.

"They are great champions and I am really happy right now."

He was the only Italian man to win, though, with Casper Ruud seeing off Lorenzo Sonego.

Denis Shapovalov had a straightforward victory and Diego Schwartzman also headed through in two sets.

Rafael Nadal showed few signs of rust as he swept aside the challenge of Pablo Carreno Busta at the Internazionali d'Italia.

Playing his first match since winning the Mexican Open on February 29 before the sport was shut down, Nadal defeated his fellow Spaniard 6-1 6-1 in just 73 minutes.

It was an emphatic return to action against Carreno Busta, who took Alexander Zverev to five sets after a run to the US Open semi-finals last week.  

World number two Nadal will meet either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic in the last 16.

Both players survived break-point opportunities in their opening service games, before Nadal reeled off five straight games to win the opener.

Carreno Busta stopped the rot with a hold to open the second set but was otherwise powerless to stop Nadal, who won every game from there.

Despite a first-serve percentage of just 49, Nadal only faced one break point in the contest as he beat Carreno Busta for the sixth straight meeting.

Nadal's win on Wednesday came after Novak Djokovic showed little sign of being affected by his US Open default in a 6-3 6-2 win over Salvatore Caruso.

The standout result of the day saw teenage home hope Jannik Sinner record a superb win over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, triumphing 6-1 6-7 (9-11) 6-2 for just the second top-10 win of his career.

Matteo Berrettini was another Italian to win in Rome as he beat Federico Coria in straight sets, while Marin Cilic defeated sixth seed David Goffin 6-2 6-2.

Novak Djokovic showed little sign of being affected by his US Open default as he bounced back to defeat Salvatore Caruso at the Internazionali d'Italia.

Top seed Djokovic had not played since he was disqualified at Flushing Meadows earlier this month after hitting a line judge with the ball in the fourth round against Pablo Carreno Busta, his first defeat of the season.

But he returned to action in typically composed fashion in Italy, dispatching world number 87 Caruso 6-3 6-2.

Djokovic, who received a bye for round one, took just 84 minutes to claim the victory and will face Mario Cecchinato or Filip Krajinovic in the last 16.

The four-time Rome champion did not face a single break point throughout Wednesday's encounter, converting three of the eight Caruso offered up.

Having clinched the opening set at the second time of asking, Djokovic crucially nosed himself ahead in the second when he broke Caruso in the third game.

At one point during the 11-minute game, Djokovic complained about noise from the mainly empty stands. While fans are not allowed, coaches and tournament officials were in attendance.

"Which one?" the umpire replied, to which a frustrated Djokovic responded: "Which one? There's 10 people in the stands."

However, unlike in New York, Djokovic this time kept a lid on his temper and had the match all but won when he broke the Italian again to make it 5-2, the world number one then duly wrapping up victory with his first match point.  

Rafael Nadal said Dominic Thiem deserved to win the US Open title in New York.

Thiem claimed his maiden major title with a dramatic five-set victory over Alexander Zverev in the final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

The Austrian finally broke through after losing three grand slam finals, including two to Nadal at the French Open.

Nadal praised Thiem for his success, which came with the Spaniard and Roger Federer not in the draw and with Novak Djokovic having defaulted in the fourth round.

"I'm happy for Dominic. If somebody deserved to win a big title it's him," he said. 

"A super hard worker, very focused on his goals, a good person, a good human being. He deserved it.

"Sorry to Sascha [Zverev], he was close but in some ways I think even though Sascha played a great final, I think the road to the final from Dominic had been a little bit more solid.

"So in some ways he deserved the title and Sascha will have more chances in the future. But after a lot of years of hard work, I think Dominic deserved it. I'm happy for him."

Nadal is set to face Pablo Carreno Busta at the Internazionali d'Italia in his first match since the ATP Tour season resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Murray and Eugenie Bouchard have been handed wildcards for the singles draws at the French Open.

Former world number one Murray made his grand slam return at the US Open earlier this month, defeating Yoshihito Nishioka before losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

Murray, 33, was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2016 and reached the semi-finals for four consecutive years between 2014 and 2017.

He is currently ranked 110th in the world after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery last year.

Bouchard enjoyed a restorative run to the final of the Istanbul Open last week, where the 2014 Wimbledon finalist was beaten by Patricia Maria Tig despite taking the first set.

Tsvetana Pironkova has also been awarded a spot in the women's draw after her surprise run to the US Open quarters.

Murray, Bouchard and Pironkova are the only non-French players to receive the 16 wildcards on offer across the two singles draws.

Novak Djokovic was unlucky but his US Open default showed the importance of the need for self-control on the court, according to Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic was disqualified in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for inadvertently hitting a ball at a line judge after being broken by Pablo Carreno Busta.

Nadal will face Carreno Busta in his return to action in Rome this week and, while he expressed some sympathy with the world number one, the 19-time grand slam champion agreed with the widespread view that tournament officials were left with no other option after Djokovic's actions.

"The consequences have been always the same. Nothing new on that," Nadal said at a news conference.

"Novak was unlucky. [But] The rules say clearly that's a default. Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there. But in some way you should not be doing this.

"It's very unfortunate, very unlucky situation. But it's important to have the right self-control on the court, because if not, you can be unlucky."

Nadal will be playing for the first time in over six months at the Internazionali d'Italia. He has not competed since February 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He elected not to enter the US Open bubble to defend the title he won in 2019 and his only goal is to be competitive against his compatriot.

"I arrived in plenty of time to try and have the right practices," Nadal added. "You need matches to feel 100 per cent… I'm excited about going back to competition, without big expectations.

"I know I have a tough first [match] against Pablo. He's playing great. So let's see, it's going to be a good test.

“[My] expectation is to always go on court and try to feel competitive. That's the first goal. Go on court, feel [that I'm] competitive, and then I will see how I feel and what kind of goals I can look for."

Novak Djokovic says he will never forget being defaulted at the US Open but admits he cannot promise he will not misbehave on court again.

The world number one was disqualified from his last-16 match against Pablo Carreno Busta after striking a linesperson with the ball.

The Serbian, who said he was "extremely sorry" for his actions, was left feeling "sad and empty" over the incident, which saw him take a ball from his pocket and hit it behind him after dropping serve.

The 33-year-old is back in action this week at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, where he will start against either Tennys Sandgren or Salvatore Caruso after being given a bye in the first round.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Djokovic said: "Of course, it was a shock to finish the US Open the way it was finished. It was the first time in my career that something like this happens.

"Of course, it could have happened earlier in my career, you know, could have happened to many players.

"The ball hits a line judge, it was just unfortunate that I hit the line umpire in a very awkward place. There was a lot of speculation and discussions whether it was deserved or not, I accepted it and I moved on.

"I cannot promise or cannot guarantee that I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life. I'm going to try my best, obviously, but anything is possible in life.

"I accepted it, I had to move on and that's what I did. Of course, I did not forget about it, I don't think I will ever forget about it, these things stay in your memory for the rest of your life, but I don't think I will have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well and hit the tennis ball during the point.

"I checked on [the line judge] after the match, she said that she was fine, that there were no injuries. I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her, she didn't deserve that in any way, she's obviously volunteering as well, she loves tennis and has been there for quite a few years.

"It's unfortunate for both of us to experience that. It was very awkward and disappointing for me to finish off the US Open that way because I felt very good about myself, my game, I had won the Western and Southern Open.

"I came into the fourth round feeling really good and hitting the ball really nicely, and ready in every aspect. It was very unexpected and very unintended as well, to hit her.

"But when you hit the ball like that as I hit it to have a chance to hit someone who is on the court and the rules are clear when it comes to that."

Djokovic, who was unbeaten in 2020 prior to the US Open, has won the Internazionali d'Italia on four occasions, the last of which came in 2015.

Alexander Zverev lamented missed chances after coming "super close" to being a grand slam champion in a loss to Dominic Thiem.

Zverev fell short in a dramatic US Open final on Sunday, losing 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) to Thiem on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Playing his first major final, Zverev was also up a break in the third set and led 5-3 in the fifth before losing.

Zverev was disappointed to let the opportunities slip away in the decider.

"I was super close to being a grand slam champion. I was a few games away, maybe a few points away," he told a news conference.

"For me what upset me the most is not the third set or something like that, it's the fifth set. I had a lot of chances in the fifth set and didn't use them.

"I'm 23 years old. I don't think it's my last chance. I do believe that I will be a grand slam champion at some point."

Zverev served 15 double faults in his defeat, having made the better start before Thiem responded.

He said it was difficult to accept his loss after being in such a promising position.  

"Obviously being two sets to love and a break up in a grand slam final then losing is not easy," Zverev said.

"Yeah, I mean, the match turned when he broke me I think for the first time in the third set.

"I think he started playing much better and I started playing much worse. That's when the match turned. But I still had plenty of chances after that." 

Dominic Thiem described his US Open success as a dream come true after rallying from two sets down to claim his first grand slam crown in New York.

After three runners-up appearances in major finals, second seed Thiem finally broke through by outlasting Alexander Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

The Austrian, who overcame a slow start, became the first player to rally from two sets down to win a US Open final in the Open Era, and first since 1949.

Thiem is also the first man born in the 1990s to win a grand slam after prevailing in more than four hours in a rollercoaster final on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"Definitely I achieved a life goal, a dream of myself, which I had for many, many years," Thiem told reporters after his memorable comeback against the fifth-seeded German. "Of course, as a kid, as well, when I started to play tennis. But back then it's so far away.

"Then I got closer and closer to the top. At one point I realised that, wow, maybe one day I can really win one of the four biggest titles in tennis.

"I put a lot of work in. I mean, I dedicated basically my whole life until this point to win one of the four majors. Now I did it. That's also for myself a great accomplishment.

"I mean, it's by far not only myself, it's an accomplishment from all my team, from all my family. I guess also today is the day where I gave back huge amount of what they did for me."

Thiem lost a thrilling Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic earlier this year, having fallen short in the 2018 and 2019 French Open deciders to Rafael Nadal.

"When I first realised that maybe one day I could really win a major was when I first broke into the semis of Roland Garros, when I broke into top 10," said the 27-year-old Thiem, who never gave up hope against Zverev. "From that moment on I dreamed about it. I thought that it's maybe realistic.

"Back then I thought my biggest chances by far are on clay. But then the end of last year somehow changed a lot of things when I won Beijing, when I won Vienna, when I played the great Nitto ATP Finals. Then I realised that my game is suiting the hard courts really well.

"Of course, since I'm working with Nico [Massu], we improved my game on hard court a lot. Also changed my mind that many shots are working great on that surface. So I think my best major until now US Open, I played in Australia. Now it's not for me that big surprise anymore that it's not the French. At the end it doesn't matter to me. Main thing is that I have one of these four now."

As Thiem basks in his first major triumph, attention quickly turns to the upcoming French Open in Paris.

The rescheduled French Open is due to get underway on September 27 at Roland Garros amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked about the transition from hard to clay courts, two-time French Open runner-up Thiem said: "I think physically I'm going to be fine, 100 per cent. I'm going to have enough time to recover from all the troubles I had.

"But the question is how I'm going to do it with the emotions mentally. Obviously, I've never been in this situation. I achieved a big, big goal. Well, I don't know how I'm going to feel the next days.

"At the same time it's going to be or I expect that it's going to be easier for me now in the biggest tournaments because I had it in the back of my head that I had a great career so far, way better career than I could ever dreamt of, but until today there was still a big part, a big goal missing.

"With this goal achieved, I think and I hope that I'm going to be a little bit more relaxed and play a little bit more freely at the biggest events."

Dominic Thiem made history as he came from behind to edge Alexander Zverev to win his first grand slam title at the US Open on Sunday.

In a rollercoaster decider on a quiet Arthur Ashe Stadium, Thiem – playing his fourth major final – eventually closed out a 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) victory.

The Austrian became the first player to rally from two sets down to win a US Open final in the Open Era, and first since 1949.

Thiem is also the first man born in the 1990s to win a grand slam, needing more than four hours in the first US Open final to be decided by a fifth-set tie-break.

There were six breaks of serve in the final set, with Zverev – playing his first major final – giving up a 5-3 lead before Thiem also failed to serve it out at 6-5.

But as both players looked tired and with Thiem, 27, seemingly cramping, he managed to hold his nerve the better of the two to win a first major.

Zverev, who came from two sets down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in the last four, was this time on the front foot from the outset and needed only 30 minutes to take the opener.

The German, 23, broke his apparently anxious opponent twice in the first set and raced into a 5-1 lead in the second.

Thiem raced forward to volley at the net and earn one break back, but Zverev served out the set and quickly went about making progress in the third.

Yet another poor service game concluded with a wayward stroke under little pressure, seemingly bringing the finish line into view after just 90 minutes of play.

But Thiem finally showed some resilience and, despite seeing one opportunity pass with an agonising miss at the back of the court, he tied the set again, then staying patient before another gain took the match to a fourth as the wobbling Zverev went wide.

Thiem's level improved as both held comfortably to begin the fourth set, although the Austrian was passive as he squandered two break points in the sixth game.

But Thiem would take his next chance, grabbing a 5-3 lead when Zverev double faulted and then sent a forehand into the net, before closing it out to force a fifth set.

The pair traded breaks to begin the decider as both showed nerves before Thiem recovered from 0-30 in the sixth game and fell behind again in the eighth, Zverev breaking for a 5-3 lead, only to give that advantage straight back with a poor game when serving for the title.

Serving at 30-30 in the 10th game, Thiem produced two spectacular forehands, the first a rocket down the line before a passing shot.

Thiem, looking the more tired and perhaps cramping, broke for 6-5 when Zverev sent a forehand well long, but he too failed to serve it out after a brief visit from the trainer.

Zverev's 15th double fault gave Thiem a 5-3 lead in the tie-break before the latter squandered two match points, including one from a weak second serve from the German.

But Thiem would finally close out victory, falling onto his back behind the baseline as Zverev pulled a backhand wide to complete a dramatic finish.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Thiem [2] bt Zverev [5] 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Thiem – 43/55
Zverev – 52/64

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Thiem – 8/8
Zverev – 15/15

BREAK POINTS WON

Thiem – 7/13 
Zverev – 8/18

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Thiem – 62
Zverev – 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Thiem – 68/48
Zverev – 70/41

TOTAL POINTS

Thiem – 162
Zverev – 159

Daniil Medvedev felt Dominic Thiem played like a member of the 'big three' in their US Open semi-final on Friday.

Thiem triumphed in straight sets 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) after Medvedev – the runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year – passed up a set point in the second-set tie-break and another when serving with a 5-3 lead in the third.

With Novak Djokovic having been defaulted from his fourth-round meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta for hitting a line judge with a ball, Rafael Nadal opting out of the tournament due to coronavirus concerns, and Roger Federer sitting out after undergoing knee surgery, the US Open will see the first maiden grand slam champion since Marin Cilic in 2014.

But Medvedev still felt like he was up against one of the ATP Tour's leading three players in his meeting with Thiem, who will battle Alexander Zverev in Sunday's showpiece.

"He played like a real champion. As I say, that's actually the stress of big three. No matter which day you play them, it seems like they play the same level," said Medvedev.

"Talking about myself or Dominic, we can have these bad days where maybe you can say I'm going to play to the backhand of Dominic and get some chances.

"Well, not during this US Open or Australian Open. He's playing really some great tennis, backhand, forehand, slice. Everything is there.

"I tried to mix it up. I feel like I've done a lot of great things tonight, but just didn't get it until the end."

Medvedev added: "He had a little bit more energy tonight, maybe. Let's call it a winning energy. I think it was the feeling throughout all the match. That's why I was serving two times for the set.

"I didn't do anything wrong, but he was playing really good. He fought until the end. I also fought for it until the end.

"We can discuss for hours about this, maybe I should have played cross, down the line. But tennis is not only about this, and he was really good tonight."

During the first set Medvedev received a code violation for crossing the net to point out where the ball had landed after being deemed not to have challenged in time.

The Russian took his complaints to the match supervisor and was heard saying: "The US Open is a joke, right? What did I do to get a code? Ah, yeah, sorry, I think I killed someone, right? Sorry, I was so bad to cross the net. My sincere apologies to the US Open for crossing the net."

Asked about the incident in his post-match news conference, Medvedev said: "I was just really angry. Of course, there was no reason to talk to him.

"But what surprises me sometimes in tennis is, okay, the supervisor is always there in case, let's say, for example, a default. He steps up, calls a default. It's not the decision of an umpire.

"For example, talking about my code violation today, I mean, what did I do? Did I hurt someone? Did I say something rude? I didn't do anything. I get a code. I'm like, supervisor, do something. Why are you sitting here?

"I still don't know the answer to this question. Of course, there was no reason to get angry on this."

Medvedev said he planned to have a short rest before playing the Hamburg Open to prepare for another grand slam tilt at Roland Garros.

"Last clay season my best tournaments were the first ones. Here I'm only going to have two. Hopefully I can have some great results," he said.

Dominic Thiem joked that he will have to call former world number one Andy Murray if he loses a fourth grand slam final after reaching the US Open decider.

Thiem defeated last year's US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) in Friday's semi-final as the second seed eyes an elusive major title.

The Austrian star has lost all three slam finals he has featured in – the 2020 Australian Open decider against Novak Djokovic and the 2019 and 2019 French Open showpieces to Rafael Nadal.

Murray was beaten in four major finals before breaking through for his maiden slam via the 2012 US Open and Thiem joked on court post-match: "If I win, I have my first [grand slam title]. If not, I have to slowly call Andy Murray to find out how it is with 0-4."

Pressed on those comments and whether he had ever spoken to three-time slam champion Murray about overcoming slam final defeats, Thiem told reporters: "I never talked to anyone. It was all good so far. But I was joking about it.

"It's easy for Andy because he has won three in the meantime. But that's not what I'm thinking about Sunday. I just going to go in fully focused, like in all the six previous matches. The world continues no matter what's result is, so it's going to be fine.

"Of course, I'm super happy that I gave myself another chance to be in the finals, pretty quick after Australia. Going to be a great one against a very good friend and a great rival."

Thiem – the first Austrian male to make the singles at the US Open – capitalised against a wasteful Medvedev, who failed to serve out the second and third sets on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

First-time slam finalist and fifth seed Alexander Zverev awaits Thiem at Flushing Meadows in New York – a rematch of the pair's entertaining Australian Open semi-final showdown earlier this year.

It provides a different challenge for Thiem, who has come up against all-time greats Djokovic and Nadal in his previous final appearances.

But Thiem insisted he "won't change his mindset at all", adding: "I know what Sascha is capable of. Also the last match we had in Australia, we were both really, really good. It was such a close match.

"I will go in like in the previous six matches. As I said, from the moment Novak was out of the tournament [default in the fourth round], it was clear that there's going to be a new grand slam champion. From that moment on, that was also out of my mind. I was just focusing on the remaining guys left in the draw.

"Now it's Sascha remaining, the last one, my opponent in the finals. I will fully focus on him and just go into that match like in the all other matches I was going in so far in this tournament.

"He's a hell of a player. One of the greatest ones in last years. Won all titles besides a major. He will also try everything what he's capable of doing to win the title. It's going to be a super difficult match. For me, it really doesn't matter whether it's him or one of the big three. I just try to go in there and give my best."

Dominic Thiem progressed to his second grand slam final of the year thanks to a straight-sets win over Daniil Medvedev at the US Open on Friday.

Thiem capitalised on a wasteful Medvedev, taking down last year's runner-up 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) to earn a showdown with Alexander Zverev at Flushing Meadows.

Medvedev served for the second and third sets, but the third seed failed to do so on both occasions as the Russian star crumbled in New York.

Thiem – the first Austrian male to make the singles final at the US Open – will now look to claim his maiden major title after losing a thrilling 2020 Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic, following two previous runners-up performances at the French Open.

Medvedev had not dropped a set heading into the semi-final but that changed during a controversial opener under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights.

Thiem claimed the first break in the sixth game amid controversy as Medvedev received a warning for crossing the net to point at a mark after he was not allowed to challenge late.

After discussion with umpire and supervisor, Medvedev sarcastically said: "My sincere apologies to US Open for crossing the net".

That unnerved Medvedev, who was broken again as second seed Thiem closed out the set on his opponent's serve.

Medvedev, though, managed to get back into the zone by breaking in the opening game of the second set and consolidating for a 2-0 lead.

He retained the break until trying to serve out the set at 5-4, with Medvedev unable to fend off two break points after sending a forehand into the net.

Thiem then produced a huge hold of serve to force a tie-break against Medvedev, saving five break points.

After saving a set point in the tie-break, Thiem then moved two-sets-to-love ahead after a poor Medvedev drop shot helped the Austrian claim a dominant lead.

Medvedev had never erased a two-set deficit in his slam career, but he attempted to claim a career first after starting the third set just like he did in the second by racing out to a 2-0 lead.

He retained the break and led 5-3, however, there was deja vu for Medvedev – who was unable to close out the set on his serve in the ninth game.

Thiem, having required foot treatment at the end of the second set, forced another tie-break and after surging 5-0 clear, he eventually dispatched Medvedev.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 

Thiem [2] bt Medvedev [3] 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Thiem – 22/33
Medvedev – 29/44

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Thiem – 2/3
Medvedev – 12/4

BREAK POINTS WON 

Thiem – 4/10
Medvedev – 2/8

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 

Thiem – 59
Medvedev – 59

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 

Thiem – 79/55
Medvedev – 76/41

TOTAL POINTS 

Thiem – 127
Medvedev – 112

German star Alexander Zverev insisted he has unfinished business after reaching his first grand slam final in stunning fashion at the US Open.

Zverev rallied from two-sets-to-love down to outlast Pablo Carreno Busta 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 in Friday's semi-final at Flushing Meadows.

After erasing a two-set deficit for the first time in his career, fifth seed Zverev – the youngest major finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2010 – is now looking to become the first German slam champion since Boris Becker in 1996.

An Australian Open semi-finalist earlier this year, Zverev is also the first German man through to the US Open final since 1994 following three hours, 22 minutes on court in New York.

But Zverev is refusing to dwell on his major breakthrough as he awaits either Dominic Thiem or last year's runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the decider, telling reporters: "I still need to achieve. Sunday is going to be extremely difficult no matter who I play of those guys.

"But I'm looking forward to it. Yeah, I'm in the final of a grand slam. The two best players in the world are going to be playing on court."

Zverev added: "It's great. Obviously happy to be in a final. But as I said in the previous question, there's still one more step to go. For me, I think it's going to be extremely difficult. Both of those guys deserve to be in the final. That's it.

"If I play Dominic, we played an epic in Australia. If I play Daniil, we had some great matches as well. No matter who it's going to be, it's going to be a new grand slam champion, but it's going to be also a very difficult match I think."

Zverev was on the brink of an exit after a slow start against Carreno Busta, but he battled hard to get past the Spanish 20th seed on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 23-year-old Zverev became the first player to win a grand slam semi-final from two sets down since Djokovic in 2011

"I looked at the scoreboard after two sets," he said. "I thought to myself, Look, I'm playing a grand slam semi-final, I'm down 6-3, 6-2 in a match where on paper I'm supposed to be the favourite.

"I needed to play better, start something new. I thought, Okay, I'm going to go set by set, we'll see how far I can get. It turned out well in the end.

"Obviously it was very close. Pablo deserved to be in the final just as much as I did. Yeah, a few points here or there on either side of the match."

Alexander Zverev advanced to his first grand slam final after rallying from two sets down to trump Pablo Carreno Busta in a sensational fightback at the US Open.

Zverev was on the brink of defeat against Spanish 20th seed Carreno Busta in New York, but the German star produced a stunning rally to emerge victorious 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 on Friday.

After earning his first win from two-sets-to-love down, Zverev – the youngest major finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2010 – is now looking to become the first German major champion since Boris Becker in 1996 as he awaits either Dominic Thiem or last year's runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the decider.

Fifth seed Zverev, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals earlier this year, is also the first German man through to the US Open final at Flushing Meadows since 1994 following three hours, 22 minutes on court.

Carreno Busta – who benefited from world number one Djokovic's default in the fourth round – made a flying start and led 5-1 in the opening set before dropping his own serve for the first time.

Zverev was too far back in that set to make it close though, and he was desperately flat in the second set too, sliding two breaks behind without making Carreno Busta fight especially hard for that enviable position.

Carreno Busta – a two-time US Open semi-finalist – wobbled slightly, but he could afford to, and he soon held a two-set cushion.

But Zverev refused to surrender and he showed more verve and attacking intent to finally break his opponent's serve at a meaningful point in a set and lead 3-1 in the third, but that was immediately clawed back.

The inclination was to think that might have marked the end of the Zverev fightback, given he had shown such little dynamism through the first two sets, but he broke again and soon led 5-2 as he stayed alive in the match.

Zverev's serve and ball-striking was more assured than at any point in the match, with Carreno Busta for the first time given serious pause for thought, the momentum beginning to turn.

That was only accentuated when Carreno Busta dropped serve in game three of the fourth set, but a wretched service game from Zverev brought the fourth set back on level terms.

However, Zverev earned a pair of break-point chances in a tense seventh game and while Carreno Busta saved one, he was unable to save the other as the former's deep approach shot set up an emphatic overhead smash for the break and 4-3 lead.

Carreno Busta then saved three set points in a battling display, but there was no denying the rallying Zverev – who levelled the match at two-sets-apiece with an ace to force a decider.

After a medical timeout for back treatment, Carreno Busta emerged trying to halt Zverev's momentum, however, the latter was too hot to handle with a match-high 18 winners in the set to complete a memorable fightback as he became the first German grand slam finalist since 2003.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Zverev [5] bt Carreno Busta [20] 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Zverev – 71/57
Carreno Busta – 37/43

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Zverev – 24/8
Carreno Busta – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Zverev – 7/21
Carreno Busta – 7/16

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Zverev – 62
Carreno Busta – 71 

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Zverev – 78/37
Carreno Busta – 65/42

TOTAL POINTS

Zverev – 148
Carreno Busta – 138

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