Thiem gets past Djokovic in 3-set semifinal at ATP Finals – tennis

Dominic Thiem ended Novak Djokovic’s bid for a file-tying sixth ATP Finals title, beating the highest-ranked participant 7-5, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5) in the semifinals Saturday by grabbing seven of the final eight factors.

Thiem may have closed issues greater than an hour earlier, however he frittered away 4 match factors in the second-set tiebreaker, together with one by double-faulting.

Then the U.S. Open champion trailed 4-0 in the final tiebreaker earlier than turning issues round. When it ended with Djokovic crusing a forehand lengthy, Thiem dropped his racket and coated his face together with his fingers.

“It was, for sure, a mental battle,” Thiem mentioned.

The No. 3-ranked Thiem’s three hundredth profession match win put him in the ultimate of the season-ending match for the second straight 12 months; he was runner-as much as Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2019.

No. 2 Rafael Nadal was scheduled to face No. 4 Daniil Medvedev in Saturday’s second semifinal. The closing is Sunday. None of the final three males in the sector has gained the match, that means there will likely be a sixth completely different champion over the past six years, the longest such stretch since 1974-79.

It’s the primary time since 2004 — when Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin did it — that the highest 4 gamers in the rankings stuffed the 4 semifinal slots for the ATP Finals.

This 12 months’s group is sort of a quartet: They mixed to win the past 10 Grand Slam males’s singles titles and the final 9 Masters 1000 trophies.

Djokovic, already assured of ending the 12 months ranked No. 1 for a file-tying sixth time, was making an attempt to match Federer’s mark of six ATP Finals trophies. A title additionally would have made Djokovic, at 33, the oldest champion in match historical past; Federer was 30 in 2011.

In Saturday’s rematch of February’s Australian Open closing, in which Djokovic beat Thiem in 5 units, there have been loads of lengthy baseline exchanges on the indoor laborious courtroom — the place issues had been quiet as a result of spectators had been banned because of the coronavirus pandemic — and few break probabilities for both participant.

Thiem confronted three break factors and saved all of them, fairly an achievement towards supreme returner Djokovic. And whereas Thiem managed to provide solely a pair of break factors, he used a kind of to take a 6-5 lead in the opening set.

In the second, Thiem’s ace put him forward 6-5 in the tiebreaker, one level from victory.

But Djokovic saved that preliminary probability with a 127 mph service winner. Thiem’s subsequent alternative to win got here at 7-6, however he double-faulted. The third was at 9-8, when he pushed a down-the-line forehand large. And then, at 10-9, Djokovic erased No. 4 with a forehand that landed proper on a line.

That started a 3-level run by Djokovic to steal the set and delay the match. He wanted 4 set factors in all to take action, however got here by when Thiem netted a backhand.

Afterward, Thiem acknowledged he was “tight and nervous” in that part. He regrouped, although, and got here by in the clutch an hour later.

Thiem is now solely the second man with at least 5 victories every towards Djokovic (5-7 profession mark), Nadal (6-9) and Federer (5-2). Andy Murray is the opposite.

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Zverev grinds out 3-set win over Schwartzman in ATP Finals – tennis

Alexander Zverev saved his event hopes alive with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday on the season-ending ATP Finals. With Zverev’s victory, Daniil Medvedev can advance to the semifinals if he beats prime-ranked Novak Djokovic later Wednesday in the empty O2 Arena. Djokovic may advance with a match to spare however should win in straight units.

Zverev, coming off what he had described as one among his worst matches of the season in his opening loss to Medvedev on Monday, led 3-1 in the second set earlier than his Argentine opponent battled again with two breaks.

A visibly pissed off Zverev fired a ball into the empty stands after dropping the second set.

The 23-12 months-outdated German recovered and broke Schwartzman twice in the third set. Schwartzman, who struggled with unforced errors, despatched a forehand into the online to finish the match.

Schwartzman broke early in the primary set, however like in Monday’s loss to Djokovic he instantly gave it again. Zverev broke once more for a 4-2 lead because of Schwartzman’s unforced errors.

Djokovic has received the elite, season-ending occasion 5 occasions — one in need of Roger Federer’s document.

On Thursday, Rafael Nadal will play Stefanos Tsitsipas with a semifinal place at stake.

Nadal has misplaced to Tsitsipas simply as soon as in six conferences — on the 2019 Madrid Open. He beat Tsitsipas right here final 12 months in the spherical robin earlier than the 22-12 months-outdated Greek went on to win the title.

“Gonna be another tough one,” Nadal stated Tuesday, looking forward to the Tsitsipas match after dropping to Dominic Thiem. “I think playing like this, I am confident that I can have my chances in the tournament.”

Tsitsipas, after beating event newcomer Andrey Rublev, stated he’ll play aggressively towards Nadal.

“Play rallies, apply pressure, serve well,” he stated. “It’s part of the game that I want to play against Rafa. I have to start strong and finish even stronger.”

Nadal has by no means received the ATP Finals.

Also Thursday, Thiem faces Rublev. The Russian is 0-2 and might’t advance.

“Doesn’t matter even if I’m already out,” he stated publish-match Tuesday, “still I have to play my maximum, because in the end it’s (the) best players and I need to perform my best.”

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