Dominic Thiem's time may finally be here. The 27-year-old Austrian is in the final of the 2020 U.S. Open, one win away from his first Grand Slam title. And this time, there's not a member of the "big three" of men's tennis awaiting him in the championship match.
Thiem reached the final of the French Open in 2018 and 2019, but he lost both times to Rafael Nadal, who didn't play in this year's U.S. Open. His only other appearance in a final came at the Australian Open earlier this year when he lost to Novak Djokovic, who was disqualified in the U.S. Open's round of 16 for inadvertently hitting a line judge with a ball.
And Roger Federer isn't Thiem's U.S. Open final opponent, either, as he's out following knee surgery.
It will be No. 5-seeded Alexander Zverev taking on Thiem, the No. 2 seed, on Sunday in the men's final of this year's U.S. Open. Zverev also has never won a Grand Slam title, so a first-time major tournament winner is guaranteed.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into Sunday's matchup between Thiem and Zverev.
U.S. Open Men's Final Information
Date: Sunday, Sept. 13
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Prize Money: The winner will earn $3 million, while the runner-up gets $1.5 million.
Like Thiem, Zverev has never won a Grand Slam title. However, the 23-year-old German also had never previously reached the final of a major tournament. His best previous showing came at the 2020 Australian Open, where he reached the semifinals. He also made it to the 2018 and 2019 French Opens quarterfinals.
At one point Friday, it looked like Zverev may not have reached this point, as he lost the first two sets of his semifinal matchup against No. 20-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta. However, Zverev bounced back and came away with a 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win.
Although it was Zverev's first five-set match of the tournament, he's had plenty of long matches already. Four of his first five matches at the U.S. Open went to four sets, and each of them included at least one tiebreaker. However, Zverev has found ways to win all of them, with Friday's semifinal victory being his most impressive yet.
"Mentally, I stayed in it. ... A lot of players would have gone away," Zverev said, according to Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press. "There's no easy matches anymore. Sometimes you have to dig deep."
Thiem has yet to play a five-set match, as he's won four of his past five matches in three straight sets. That includes his semifinal victory over No. 3-seeded Daniil Medvedev, although it took a pair of tiebreakers before he came away with a 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-5) win.
When Djokovic was disqualified from the tournament, Thiem and Medvedev became the favorites to win, and it was expected that the two would face off in the semifinals. So, it was no surprise they went head-to-head Friday, but it was impressive how Thiem won without Medvedev even claiming a set.
Now, Thiem will take on Zverev for the 10th time. Of the previous nine meetings between the two, Thiem has won seven of them, including their last matchup in the semifinals of the 2020 Australian Open. Thiem won that match 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4).
"I face a great, great opponent. He's also more than capable of winning that final," Thiem said, according to Amy Tennery of Reuters (h/t Yahoo Sports).
This year's U.S. Open final is likely to go at least four sets. Zverev continues to play competitive matchups, and he played Thiem close in that last meeting. So expect an exciting matchup between them to conclude this year's tournament.
However, it's Thiem's time to win a Grand Slam title. He's played consistently strong tennis and made it deep into major tournaments before. However, this has been his best showing at the U.S. Open, and it will be appropriate for it to end with his first win.
Thiem will outlast Zverev in four sets (perhaps with a tiebreaker or two) and join the illustrious list of Grand Slam winners.