Dominic Thiem delivered an impressive performance of aggressive tennis to beat Novak Djokovic and qualify for the last 4 at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, leaving the Serbian facing the final against Roger Federer. In the nail biting match so far at London’s O2 Arena, the Austrian 5th seed took the battle to the world number 2, recovering from losing the 1st set to triumph 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) Earlier, Federer set himself back in the fray toward the end of-season event with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win against Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in their round-robin clash.
Federer and Djokovic will go ahead on Thursday in a repeat of this current year’s Wimbledon final to determine who else will progress from Group Bjorn Borg. Thiem was forced to play aggressive tennis against the 16th time Grand Slam victor, blowing the mind with some of his inside-out forehands and single-handed backhands
Compelled to play to his limit, he hit 50 winners compared with Djokovic’s tally of 27 but also racked up 44 unforced mistakes. Thiem said “This was really one of these special matches, what I’ve practised all my life for all my childhood for”.
“Really epic one in an amazing atmosphere, beating a legend of our game, and also I have qualified for the semi-finals, which is the best. Coming back from 1-4 (down in the deciding tie-break) was a little bit of luck, but it was an unbelievable match and one I’ll never forget. Novak is the best player in the world and I had to do something special” he added.
He then broke Djokovic to love to earn a chance to serve for the match but stumbled and the decider went to a tie-break. Federer was asked about his victory against Berrettini whether his defeat to Djokovic at Wimbledon had left behind the bad emotions and mental stress.
Swiss said that “We will find out, but I think it’s all flushed away from my side.”
In a dazzling set the players swapped a break each yet Djokovic, a five-time ATP Finals champion, edged the tie-break. Resolute, Thiem broke his adversary at the first opportunity in the subsequent set and, with Djokovic’s mistake tally climbing, proceeded to level the match. Thiem additionally attracted first the decider however broke in the 6th game as Djokovic leveled the match and seemed to have built a switch in force.
Djokovic’s loss keeps him 440 points behind world number 1 Rafael Nadal for the battle of number 1 ranking for the year end ATP rankings. Looking to finish the year end at No-1 for a sixth time thus tying Pete Sampras (1993-98) record.