Australian Open finalist and second seed Dominic Thiem continued his surge in Grand Slams as he overpowered Alex De Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the US Open semi-finals for the very first time.
The 27-year-old is the first Austrian US Open semi-finalist in tournament history and he will play last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the final.
“I had a great feeling from the first moment on, actually,” Thiem said on court after his two-hour, four-minute victory. “It looks way easier on the scoresheet than it was.”
Third seed Medvedev struck the perfect balance between offence as defence, as he defeated Andrey Rublev 7-6 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (5) in an all-Russian quarterfinal.
With Novak Djokovic ousted from the event, a new Grand Slam champion is guaranteed at the US Open.
Djokovic was only one of three major champions (along with Andy Murray and Marin Cilic) to compete at this year’s US Open, which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka did not want to travel to the USA because of health and safety concerns, while Roger Federer is recuperating from knee surgery.
As Djokovic was defaulted from his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta, for accidentally hitting a line judge with a ball, it was for the first time since 2003 that neither of the Big 3 is present in a major quarterfinal.
“There is no Roger, Rafa or Novak, but there is Daniil, Sascha (Alexander Zverev) and Pablo,” said Thiem in his post-match interview.
“They’re three amazing players. Every single one of us deserves this first major title, everybody will give it all. Once we step on the court, the other three are forgotten anyway.”
Since 2003, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have had an iron grip over the majors, winning 56 Grand Slam titles between them.
#USOpen Men’s Singles Semi-Finals
🇪🇸 Carreno Busta v Zverev 🇩🇪
🇷🇺 Medvedev v Thiem 🇦🇹
Who's making the final in 2020? ⬇
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 10, 2020
Their absence has left the door open for the younger generation to make a major breakthrough.
Carreno Busta, who made the US Open semi-final for the second time, is the oldest of the last four at 29. Thiem is 27, while his semi-final opponent Medvedev is 24. Zverev, meanwhile, is the youngest of the lot at 23.
Whoever wins, for the first time since Djokovic’s win at 2016 French Open there will be a men’s champion aged under 30.
Though Thiem is, on paper, the favourite to win, he believes that Medvedev will be a very tough opponent to get past.
“I would say that he comes very close to the big three players, in terms that he can play his top level, doesn’t matter how long,” the Austrian said.