Dominic Thiem starts ATP Finals campaign with win over Stefanos Tsitsipas
Dominic Thiem turned the tables with victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening singles match of the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
It was a rematch of last year’s final, which Tsitsipas won on a deciding tie-break to claim the biggest title of his career, and this time US Open champion Thiem came out on top in a 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-3 victory.
Much has changed in 12 months, of course, and there were just a smattering of people in the vast O2 arena to watch the contest, with the event being played behind closed doors.
Revenge complete 💪
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 15, 2020
If anyone can be said to have had a good 2020, then one of those few is certainly Thiem, who won a hard-fought-for first Grand Slam title in New York having also reached the Australian Open final.
The 27-year-old is thought of as being at his best on clay but has transformed himself into one of the world’s leading lights on hard courts over the last couple of years.
The high point of Tsitsipas’ season was a run to his second slam semi-final at the French Open last month but since then he has been troubled by a leg injury.
It was the 22-year-old who was under the most pressure during a very close first set but he saved the three break points he faced and looked in control when he opened up a 5-3 lead in the tie-break.
But Thiem responded brilliantly to force a set point and then made Tsitsipas pay dearly for failing to put the ball away.
The first break of the match came for Tsitsipas in the third game of the second set, and he held onto his advantage to level things up.
Thiem, making a fifth consecutive appearance at The O2, stepped up his intensity at the start of the decider and was rewarded with a first break of the Tsitsipas serve to go 2-0 ahead.
Both men were showing plenty of emotion now but Thiem kept his cool when it mattered to serve out the match after two hours and 18 minutes.
Prior to the match, Novak Djokovic stepped out on court to receive his trophy for clinching the year-end number one ranking for a record-equalling sixth time.
Djokovic, who is also chasing a sixth ATP Finals title, begins his campaign on Monday against Andrey Rublev.
Andy Murray preparing for a return to the ATP Tour in France
Murray has accepted a wildcard to play another tournament in France.
Remarkable statistics confirm Daniil Medvedev is the new king of hard courts
Daniil Medvedev can now be hailed as the new king of hard courts.
Exclusive – Myleene Klass believes Emma Raducanu can inspire a generation
Myleene Klass has revealed Emma Raducanu has inspired her daughters to reach for the stars after her stunning win at the US Open.
Dominic Thiem on Emma Raducanu’s US Open win: ‘It’s one of the greatest achievements in women’s sport’
“Perhaps it is the greatest breakthrough of all time,” says Dominic Thiem.
‘Unfair that Novak Djokovic is always the bad guy and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the good guys’
“I hope he is treated a little more fairly,” says Boris Becker.
Venus Williams explains backstory behind photo with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at Met Gala
Just Venus, Serena and Maria enjoying a laugh in the bathroom at the Met Gala.
‘I think it’s gradually sinking in a bit more,’ says Emma Raducanu after ‘whirlwind experience’
The teenager took part in a round of breakfast TV and radio interviews.
‘People are talking about tennis again,’ revels Boris Becker after ‘Dame Emma Raducanu’s’ heroics
Boris Becker waxes lyrical about Emma Raducanu.
Tennis to introduce ‘Stefanos Tsitsipas bathroom break rule’ following Greek’s lengthy loo visits?
Stricter rules on the cards following furore over Stefanos Tsitsipas’ loo breaks.
LTA chief insists Emma Raducanu will not lose focus after stunning rise to the top
Lloyd has called for the newly-crowned US Open champion to be given “breathing space”.