Dominic Thiem Vanquishes Defending Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas at ATP Finals 2020

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World Number 3 Austrian Dominic Thiem made amends for 2019 by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets at the Tour Finals opener on Sunday afternoon. Thiem dropped the second set after winning the first but came back strongly to win the tie 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Thiem takes opening set via tie-break

Tsitsipas opened proceedings with a confident service game win and Thiem, too, responded with an easy win on serve.

The Austrian attacked Tsitsipas’ serve in the third game, scoring a break-point off him. However, the Greek brought it back to deuce.

Tsitsipas eventually managed to hold, but not without a hint of trouble.

The Greek took three points off the Austrian’s serve in the fourth game, but Thiem eked out a hold. However, Thiem’s first serve percentage was down to 54%, while the Greek was faring better on this count at 77%.

Thiem put the Greek’s serve under pressure in the seventh game of the opening set, scoring his second breakpoint. But the Austrian couldn’t cash in on it again.

On serve at 4-5, Thiem won the 10th game to love and the opening set looked to be headed to a tie-break.

With neither player winning a break of serve, the opening set did go to a tie-break.

With his serve working well for him, the Greek opened out a 5-3 lead in the tie-break. Thiem reduced the deficit to 5-5 and turned it around quite spectacularly thereafter, winning the opening set 7-6.

Tsitsipas was left cursing his luck as he failed to make good his clear lead in the opening exchanges in the tie-break.

Tsitsipas roars back to take second set

The Greek got an early break to open up a 2-1 lead in the second set. With a comfortable win on serve in the next game, the Greek extended his lead to 3-1.

Tsitsipas stretched his lead to 4-2, threatening to run away with the second set. However, the Austrian reduced the deficit to 3-4.

Tsitsipas won his next game on serve, taking his lead to 5-3.

Trailing 4-5 in the tenth game, Thiem had to get a break back to even the score-line.

However, the Greek played out a dominating service game, taking the second set 6-4.

Dominic Thiem has the last laugh

However, Thiem seized back the momentum in the deciding set, breaking Tsitsipas and opening up a 2-0 lead. Continuing with his remarkable comeback, Thiem extended his lead to 3-0.

The Greek won the next game on serve, opening his account in the final set.

Tsitsipas put the Austrian’s serve under severe strain in the next game,  forcing Thiem to level on deuce on four occasions. However, despite coming close to conceding the game, Thiem somehow held on to take his lead to 4-1.

Thiem stretched his lead to 5-3 and served out the ninth game to seal a stupendous comeback win.

Going into the Tour Finals opener, Thiem held a slender 4-3 head-to-head advantage in seven matches over the long-haired Greek.

The Austrian also held a 3-2 lead over Tsitsipas in head-to-head battles at hard-court events.

The reigning US Open champion came into the event with lessons learned from his defeat to Tsitsipas in last year’s title clash.

Speaking ahead of the tournament, the World Number 3 Austrian said the Tour Finals may not have ended well for him last year, but he is starting on a clean slate this year.

Stefanos Tsitsipas Tour Finals
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 15, 2020 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his group stage match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Reliving his moment of glory last year, the fifth-ranked Tsitsipas said he had to bring out his best tennis to defend against the Austrian’s bullet forehand and baseline play.

As was evident from the title clash at the Finals last year, there’s little to separate between these two rising stars when they go up against each other.

The final last year went to three sets but eventually ended in the Greek’s favor

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The Tour Finals was his third title last year and championship wins in Estoril and Marseille.

After his glory run at the Flushing Meadows, Dominic Thiem struggled with an injury that saw him miss the Erste Bank Open in his homeland.

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