Last year’s final was this years opening round robin match at the O2 Arena as the first day of the ATP Finals saw defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on Dominic Thiem to boast an early win in the group.
It was a fun match between the two players who fought for this trophy twelve months ago but since then it has been Dominic Thiem who had a better year and this showed in his win.
I did feel there was a bit of a blip and the body language of the Austrian dipped in the second set but without playing his very best he played very well and played the big points extremely well backed up by a faultless serving performance.
There were moments during the match where we saw that difference in quality to make a natural point a big one. 3-5 down in the tie-break the Austrian was on the run but pulled out a stunning forehand pass on the to avoid going 3-6 down and went onto win the breaker 7-5.
Another big moment from Thiem who survived from 0-30 down in the first game of the second despite going onto lose that set but in the third really ramped up the power.
Something that was spoken about before the match and evident during the match was Thiem dropping in a little compared to his time in London last year but still revving up the power around about the 6th/7th shot of the rally.
An aspect of his game which I don’t think is praised enough is the tactical awareness. The way he mixes his game up and reacts to his opponent is fantastic. Thiem mixed up the pace during the match but not once in the entire match did we see him use the slice backhand and give Stefanos time to pounce.
The early break in the third set pretty much sealed it for the Austrian who turned it on when it mattered to win 7-6 4-6 6-3 and get revenge for his three set defeat in last years final.