Nadal straight into the groove at ATP Finals, win for Thiem – tennis

London is bidding farewell to the ATP Finals after internet hosting it since 2009 however Rafa Nadal has unfinished enterprise alongside the River Thames and his opening win over Andrey Rublev on Sunday suggests he is able to land the one massive title to elude him.

The 34-yr-previous Mallorcan has struggled at the ATP’s yr-ender with two runner-up finishes in London his finest showings.

Often he has arrived bodily spent after gruelling years, however he appeared stuffed with beans in a 6-3 6-4 victory that put him high of the London Group, forward of Austrian Dominic Thiem who acquired his marketing campaign off to a nice begin with a 7-6(5) 4-6 6-3 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas who he misplaced to in the 2019 last.

Nadal will face Thiem on Tuesday.

After profitable the French Open final month for a thirteenth time, Nadal sounded uncertain whether or not he would seem in London.

The reality he’s right here, with London in COVID-19 lockdown and the O2 Arena with none followers, reveals that he regards it as a terrific alternative to lastly win the title.

Often a sluggish starter indoors, Nadal was straight into the groove towards Rublev, whose 5 titles this yr is greater than another participant on the ATP Tour.

Rublev was just a little unfortunate to drop serve at 2-3 in the first set, his forehand flicking the web and touchdown out.

But after that it was a foregone conclusion with Nadal rock-strong on serve and scientific from the baseline.

“I think it’s a positive start,” Nadal mentioned. “Always here the first match is tricky. You are playing the best of the best. Now I have a super tough match against Dominic.”

Twelve months in the past Tsitsipas beat Thiem in a 3-set humdinger in entrance of a 18,000 followers.

This time, whereas the high quality of their tennis was excessive, the environment felt depressingly flat in the cavernous enviornment, hardly the farewell social gathering the ATP envisaged for the fiftieth version of their blue-riband occasion earlier than it uproots to Turin.

There was nothing between them in the first set however Tsitsipas, who saved the solely break factors on supply, appeared set to take the opener when he led 4-1 in the tiebreak, solely for Thiem to hit again.

On set level down Tsitsipas had the court docket at his mercy with a straightforward put-away however Thiem guessed proper to get again into the level with a lob after which pressured an error.

Tsitsipas shortly re-grouped to interrupt early in the second set on his strategy to levelling the match.

But Thiem, who broke into the Grand Slam winners’ membership at the U.S. Open, is product of robust stuff today and raised his recreation at the begin of the decider to seize the decisive break.

The world quantity three mentioned it was onerous to play in entrance of empty seats although.

“If you have a huge win like today and you get the atmosphere from 17,000 people, it brings so much positive energy, and all of this is missing,” Thiem mentioned.

“You have all the time to push yourself, give yourself energy.”

Greek Tsitsipas succinctly summed up the distinction between this match and final yr’s conflict on the similar court docket.

“Main differences? People in the stands,” he mentioned.

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