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.
Wimbledon day five: Liam Broady gets nod from Jack Grealish; Heather Watson drama, Ons Jabeur elegance
A look back at day of Wimbledon.
Venus Williams on teaming up with Jamie Murray at Wimbledon: ‘I was inspired by Serena’
“Yeah I felt something in my heart,” says Venus Williams.
Cameron Norrie breaks new ground at home Grand Slam
Cameron Norrie defeated Steve Johnson 6-4 6-1 6-0 to make the last 16 at a grand slam for the first time.
Mats Wilander backs Brit to make last eight at SW19
Heather Watson made a statement in her third round win.
Novak Djokovic set for fourth round clash with breakout grass prospect
Van Rijthoven’s rapid rise this summer continued, as he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili to the sound of ‘come on Tim’ at Wimbledon.
Heather Watson banishes the ghost of her epic third round loss to Serena Williams
Watson is through to the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time in his career.
How much John McEnroe earns from BBC commentary gig
John McEnroe walks away with a tidy sum for a fortnight of work.
Ons Jabeur isn’t paid by the hour as she breezes into last 16
The world number two extended her winning streak on grass this summer to eight matches.
Heather Watson and Cameron Norrie flying the flag for Britain today at Wimbledon
Only four Brits remain.