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Sunday January 17th, 2021 11:11AM

The Latest: Kunieda wins US Open men's wheelchair title

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):

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5:55 p.m.

Shingo Kunieda won the U.S. Open men's wheelchair singles title, outlasting Alfie Hewett 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3).

The No. 1 seed from Japan won the final three points of the tiebreaker to pull out the match that last 2 hours, 54 minutes.

The wheelchair tournaments were played after the U.S. Tennis Association originally planned to scrap them this year in an effort to keep the number of people onsite down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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5:40 p.m.

Alexander Zverev is a set away from his first Grand Slam title after dominating the first two sets of the U.S. Open final.

Zverev leads Dominic Thiem 6-2, 6-4, in good shape to become Germany's first men's major champion since Boris Becker at the 1996 Australian Open.

The No. 2-seeded Thiem predicted a close match but it's been mostly a rout. Zverev, the No. 5 seed, opened a 5-1 lead in the second set before Thiem won three straight games to make it close.

Thiem will need to pull off the same comeback that Zverev did in the semifinals, when he battled back after dropping the first two against Pablo Carreño Busta.

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4:50 p.m.

Alexander Zverev was dominant on his serve and took the first set of the U.S. Open 6-2 against a shaky Dominic Thiem.

Zverev won 16 of 19 points on his serve, which reached 138 mph. He also broke Thiem's serve twice.

It's only the second set lost by the No. 2-seeded Thiem in the tournament.

Thiem will have to come from a set down, just as he did when he beat Zverev in the Australian Open semifinals.

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4:20 p.m.

Dominic Thiem says he expects another close match between he and Alexander Zverev in the U.S. Open final, which has now begun.

The No. 2 seed says he believes it will be similar to their Australian Open semifinal that went four sets, with Thiem winning the final two in tiebreakers. He called that match “super, super close.”

It went his way, like most other matchups between them. Thiem leads the series 7-2 and has won all three in Grand Slam tournaments.

Both players are seeking their first major title.

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3:40 p.m.

Could the U.S. Open have set the stage for the end of line calls by human officials?

Tournament director Stacey Allaster said before the men’s final Sunday that the use of electronic line-calling instead of line judges for all courts other than the two largest stadiums went well.

“It’s been a terrific success. There’s no debate,” Allaster said.

She added: “We couldn’t be more pleased with how it has been executed.”

Allaster said no decision has been made about using the Hawk-Eye Live system in 2021 for all calls at the Grand Slam tournament she oversees.

Only matches played at Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium had full complements of line judges aiding the chair umpire.

It was during a match in Ashe that No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic angrily smacked a ball that accidentally hit a line judge in the throat after a game. Djokovic was disqualified.

As the first Grand Slam tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic drew to a close, U.S. Tennis Association CEO Mike Dowse said of the fan-less event: “It’s safe, it’s been good for tennis, and it’s been financially good for the players and the tennis ecosystem."

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3:20 p.m.

Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are set for the U.S. Open final, with the winner giving men's tennis its first new Grand Slam champion in six years.

Marin Cilic's U.S. Open title in 2014 was the last won by somebody who hadn't previously won a major singles title.

Thiem, the No. 2 seed, is in its fourth opportunity to win one. The Austrian lost two French Open finals to Rafael Nadal and fell in this year's Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic.

The fifth-seeded Zverev is in his first Grand Slam final. He had to win a five-setter in the semifinals so he should be helped by cloudy, comfortable conditions in New York on Sunday.

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis
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