ATP Finals: Thiem beats Nadal, Tsitsipas outlasts Rublev – tennis

Dominic Thiem mastered the tiebreakers once more to get the higher of Rafael Nadal, and defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas additionally gained on Day 3 of the ATP Finals. Thiem beat the 20-time Grand Slam champion in straight units and secured his spot within the semifinals when Tsitsipas outlasted match newcomer Andrey Rublev within the night match at an empty O2 Arena.

Thiem on Tuesday clinched a 7-6(7) 7-6 (4) win on his fifth match level in his first assembly with Nadal for the reason that Australian Open quarterfinals in January, when the Austrian participant prevailed after profitable three tiebreakers in a decent 4-set match.

“If I want to look for mistakes or for things I didn’t do right, I think I wouldn’t find many,” Thiem mentioned.

The US Open champion opened group play within the season-ending occasion with a 3-set victory over Tsitsipas on Sunday and certified for the semifinals when Tsitsipas gained 6-1 4-6 7-6 (6), handing Rublev his second defeat. On Wednesday, high-ranked Novak Djokovic will play Daniil Medvedev — each gamers gained their opening matches — and Alexander Zverev faces Diego Schwartzman, with each looking for their first victories.

Nadal, who beat Rublev in straight units of their opener, missed an opportunity to qualify with a match to spare and subsequent will play Tsitsipas on Thursday with a semifinal place at stake. Nadal has by no means gained the ATP Finals, one in all few gaps on his resume.

Nadal credited Thiem however described the match as “very equal”. “Both of us played at a very high level. He deserved to win because he played a little bit better at some key moments,” Nadal mentioned. “I am much more confident now with the level of tennis that I am playing than a couple of days ago.”

Thiem, who described his efficiency as probably the greatest of his profession, gained the primary set after coming from 5-2 down within the tiebreaker, saving two set factors within the course of. There was excessive-high quality shot-making all through the match, however not least when Thiem produced two inside-out forehand winners in a 3-level span to shut the tiebreaker — the primary on set level for Nadal — after which to clinch the set.

“It was a great match from the first to the last point,” Thiem mentioned, “but actually I was pretty lucky to get that first set.”

After each gamers had their service damaged within the second set, Nadal saved three match factors when serving at 5-4 and 40-0 down. He gained 5 straight factors in that sport, with one together with a lob from a ‘tweener that Thiem just managed to get back before Nadal powered a backhand down the line.

Thiem won three straight points to move 6-3 ahead in the tiebreaker. Nadal saved another match point but sent a tired backhand just wide to lose the match. On the day Austria went back into lockdown amid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the country’s best sports activities stars was comfortable to placed on a present for his compatriots.

“I hope people enjoyed the match back home,” Thiem mentioned, “and forgot a little bit for a few hours the tough times we are living through right now.”

The ATP Finals transfer to Turin, Italy, subsequent yr, after 12 years in London. The match is utilizing digital line calling for the primary time. Players can’t problem whether or not a ball was in or out, however they will request a video assessment for different disputed conditions, reminiscent of double bounces.

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