There will be a new winner at the ATP Finals this weekend. Dominic Thiem put on a masterclass of determination and strength to see off Novak Djokovic 7-5 7-6.
A truly fascinating battle was played out at the O2 Arena between two giants in mens tennis. It was great to see the tactics behind the performance and the level of intensity could not have been higher.
Throughout the match we didn’t get breaks of serves but we saw what was working and what wasn’t working. A bit like how Nadal approached the match against Thiem trying to go high into the forehand and force him onto the sliced backhand. We did see this throughout the match but there wasn’t opportunities to do it consistently.
It was only in the latter stages of the sets where we began to see players take a risk, at 5-5 in the first I didn’t think Thiem was it but a couple of stunning points put him in a position to break and he took them.
The second set went into a tie-break where it was 22 points off utter brilliance. The level of intensity hit new heights and both players were finding different ways to deal with it. Djokovic began the tie-break very relaxed and twirling his racket in the air and under his legs delaying the serve of Thiem in what was an unusual tactic from the number one and not very sporting.
Thiem did go onto create four match point opportunities, he double faulted on the first one and then squandered the other three and Djokovic took it 12-10 and took us to a third.
Once again there just weren’t opportunities to break. Both players did soo well in holding serve. Credit to Dominic Thiem for his reaction losing the tie-break but he continued to pull Djokovic left and right with his punishing forehand but almost punished himself.
Down 0-4 in the third set tie-break the Austrian’s run looked all but over but as Djokovic described it after Thiem was “unreal” from this position to go onto win and progress to the final for the second year running.