Dominic Thiem ended Novak Djokovic’s bid for a record-tying sixth ATP Finals title, beating the top-ranked participant 7-5, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5) within 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 within the second-set tiebreaker, together with one by double-faulting.
Then the U.S. Open champion trailed 4-Zero within the final tiebreaker earlier than turning issues round. When it ended with Djokovic crusing a forehand lengthy, Thiem dropped his racket and lined his face together with his fingers.
“It was, for sure, a mental battle,” Thiem mentioned.
The No. 3-ranked Thiem’s 300th profession match win put him within the remaining of the season-ending event for the second straight 12 months; he was runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2019.
WATCH | Dominic Thiem earns fifth profession victory over Djokovic:
No. 2 Rafael Nadal was scheduled to face No. 4 Daniil Medvedev in Saturday’s second semifinal. The remaining is Sunday. None of the final three males within the subject has gained the event, that means there will probably be a sixth totally different champion over the previous 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 within the rankings stuffed the 4 semifinal slots for the ATP Finals.
This 12 months’s group is kind of a quartet: They mixed to win the previous 10 Grand Slam males’s singles titles and the final 9 Masters 1000 trophies.
Few break possibilities
Djokovic, already assured of ending the 12 months ranked No. 1 for a record-tying sixth time, was attempting to match Federer’s mark of six ATP Finals trophies. A title additionally would have made Djokovic, at 33, the oldest champion in event historical past; Federer was 30 in 2011.
WATCH | Novak Djokovic secures semifinal berth:
In Saturday’s rematch of February’s Australian Open remaining, during which Djokovic beat Thiem in 5 units, there have been loads of lengthy baseline exchanges on the indoor arduous court docket — the place issues had been quiet as a result of spectators had been banned because of the coronavirus pandemic — and few break possibilities for both participant.
Thiem confronted three break factors and saved all of them, fairly an achievement in opposition to supreme returner Djokovic. And whereas Thiem managed to supply solely a pair of break factors, he used a type of to take a 6-5 lead within the opening set.
In the second, Thiem’s ace put him forward 6-5 within the tiebreaker, one level from victory.
But Djokovic saved that preliminary probability with a 127-mile per hour 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 vast. And then, at 10-9, Djokovic erased No. Four with a forehand that landed proper on a line.
That started a three-point run by Djokovic to steal the set and extend 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 within the clutch an hour later.
Thiem is now solely the second man with at the very least 5 victories every in opposition to Djokovic (5-7 profession mark), Nadal (6-9) and Federer (5-2). Andy Murray is the opposite.