Alexander Zverev fights back from two sets down to reach first Grand Slam final at the US Open

Alexander Zverev fought back from two sets to love down for the first time in his career as he defeated Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the US Open final.

Zverev, the fifth seed from Germany and heavy favourite for this contest, looked to be heading for a limp exit after playing some dreadful tennis early in the match.

But, to his credit, he steadied his nerves and ground Carreno Busta down, winning 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 after three hours and 22 minutes to become the first German man to reach a major final since Rainer Schuttler was beaten by Andre Agassi in the 2003 Australian Open.

‘I was looking at the scoreboard when I was down 3 sets to love,’ said Zverev.

‘I was like I can’t believe it, I’m playing in a semi-final where I’m supposed to be favourite and I’m down two sets to love and I’ve got no chance, I’m playing so bad. I knew I had to come up with better tennis’

After the extraordinarily high level on display on this same court a night ago, with some blockbuster women’s semi-finals taking centre stage, this was a bit of a damp squib.

For one who can be so cocksure – self belief is necessary to reach this level of elite sport – Zverev, 23, can appear so fragile mentally and he was struggling to get his second serve and forehand into play in the opening stages of the match.

But he has been to world No. 3 for a reason and found some resolve from deep within to ensure he didn’t go down with a whimper. Instead, he uncovered cracks in Carreno Busta’s game and produced a solid, if sometimes difficult to watch, comeback.

Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem are unlikely to let him off the hook in the manner Carreno Busta did. Whoever wins that encounter will enter the final as the favourite for Sunday’s final.

Carreno Busta, the 20th seed from Spain, drew first blood after a cagey start from both men.

A shanked Zverev backhand flew out as Carreno Busta took a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Zverev, who also started slowly in his quarter-final win over Borna Coric, double faulted in his next service game to gift his opponent two further break point chances, the second of which was converted.

Carreno Busta had a wobble when serving for the set at 5-1 but didn’t falter at the second time of asking as he took a 6-3 lead.

A string of double faults were contributing factors in Carreno Busta breaking in the first game of the second set.

As the doubles flowed and Zverev gifted a second break to the 20th seed, former British No. 1 Tim Henman described the performance as a ‘horror show’.

After falling two sets down, there were finally signs of life from the world No. 7.

Having hit 22 unforced errors in the previous set, he reduced that total to three in the third as he clawed one set back.

He didn’t maintain that level in the fourth but he had dragged Carreno Busta significantly far enough down with him and levelled.

The Spaniard, perhaps feeling the effects from his four-hour quarter-final with Denis Shapovalov, required treatment ahead of the decider and was broken moments later.

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