Dominic Thiem has proven himself a hard-court menace, using his powerful game — armed with heavy topspin-laced groundstrokes — to mow through opponents on the sport’s biggest stages. On Sunday afternoon, the Austrian earned revenge against reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat him in last year’s championship clash, with a three-set triumph.
The US Open champion, who is No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, appears as dangerous as ever. But Thiem doesn’t consider himself a leading favourite at The O2 in London.
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“Honestly not in this tournament. I think especially this year all eight players are in great form and are pretty much on a hot streak as well,” Thiem said. “Rafa and Novak because of all they have achieved and what they are, I think they’re a little bit above the other six.
“But in general every single one of the eight players can win every match here. So I see myself just as everybody else and every match is pretty much 50-50 and the one who has a better day and the one who is a little bit more lucky [on] this certain day is going to win the matches and the one who has the best week is going to end up winning the tournament. I couldn’t do any predictions at all.”
There was not much to differentiate between Thiem and Tsitsipas’ level on Centre Court, much like last year’s final, which went to a final-set tie-break. But this time, Thiem earned an early break in the third set and held on to claim a 1-0 record in Group London 2020.
“I thought the level was higher last year. We were both in great shape last year in the final, wanted that title 100 per cent. The atmosphere was insane last year in the final and today was a little bit different,” Thiem said. “It was a lot over the serve from both of us, only two breaks in the whole match. I think the conditions are pretty fast here, so I’m super happy with my win.”
Thiem is off to an impressive start in round-robin play at the season finale for the second consecutive year. In 2019, he beat Roger Federer in straight sets to begin his London run.
“I experienced in the past four years how important it is to have a good start in this tournament, to ideally win the first match,” Thiem said. “I am very happy that I did it.”
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The Austrian star will immediately turn his attention to his next match to try to move to 2-0 in round-robin action again this year. He will take confidence from his performance against the defending champion.
“Every win against a Top 10 player here at the Finals is something special and as well, every win against Stefanos is something special,” Thiem said. “He’s such a great player, established, won so many big titles already.”
Source: Tennis – ATP World Tour