Comment & Analysis @RazMirza
Roger Federer’s hopes of landing record-extending seventh ATP Finals title and first since 2011 left hanging in the balance after opening round-robin loss to Dominic Thiem
Last Updated: 10/11/19 10:41pm
Dominic Thiem recorded his third win over Roger Federer in 2019 to cause an early shock at the ATP Finals on Sunday.
The Swiss, who bowed out to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals last year, was taken out of his comfort zone by Thiem, who sealed a wonderful 7-5 7-5 victory in one hour and 40 minutes of scintillating tennis at London’s O2.
French Open runner-up Thiem, who has claimed five titles this season, including a maiden Masters 1000 at Indian Wells, was making his fourth appearance at the end-of-season tournament where he has yet to make progress past the round-robin stage.
The French Open runner-up was by no means intimidated by Federer and he made a crisp start by winning the opening couple of games before the Swiss warmed to proceedings as he quickly restored parity.
But Federer dropped serve for the second time in the match when a couple of unforced errors at 5-5 handed Thiem the opportunity to serve out the set and the Austrian obliged.
Thiem stayed ultra-aggressive in a tight second set while Federer’s footwork and timing appeared to be letting him down.
The 26-year-old executed his game plan to perfection as he broke to love in the 11th game and then served out the match after taking his second match point.
Federer, ranked third, will now be a particularly dangerous obstacle for Novak Djokovic, who opened with a handsome win over Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini earlier on Sunday. The rivals are now scheduled to lock horns in the final round-robin match on Thursday.
Federer also lost his opening group match last year to Kei Nishikori but recovered to reach the semi-finals.
Stats of the match
Did you know…
Apart from Dominic Thiem only two other Austrian players have defeated Roger Federer in his career:
2011 Jurgen Melzer 6-4 6-4 in Monte Carlo Masters
2001 Stefan Koubek 7-6 7-5 in Vienna
Thiem has now beaten Federer on clay, hard, indoor hard and grass.
The Austrian improves to 4-6 and Federer falls to 57-16 at ATP Finals.
Roger Federer vs Dominic Thiem: Match Stats
|70%||1st serve win percentage||65%|
|48%||2nd serve win percentage||63%|
|12/22||Net points won||5/8|
|1/4||Break points won||3/5|
|72/149||Total points won||77/149|
Thiem: Special beating Roger
It was a great performance, my first opening win here at the Finals. It’s overwhelming and breathtaking to enter this arena when it’s packed. We had a good and close match, and it’s always special to beat Roger, who is a legend. It’s amazing to play against probably the best player of all time, but luckily I have a pretty good record against him. The games when I had to serve are always a struggle, you don’t get any presents from him. I’m very happy that I pulled through the last game.
Who plays who next…
With that win Thiem will play Djokovic in the next round of matches on Tuesday, while Federer will take on debutant Matteo Berrettini.
It means Federer’s group-stage meeting with Djokovic, their first since July’s Wimbledon final, will take place on Thursday.
The 38-year-old Swiss will likely need to avenge that five-set defeat at the All England Club if he is to reach the semi-finals at the O2.
The other four-man group features world No 1 Rafael Nadal, defending champion Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas and Daniil Medvedev. They begin play on Monday.
ATP Finals: Monday’s fixtures
|MONDAY [All times GMT]|
|2pm||Tsitsipas vs Medvedev|
|8pm||Nadal vs Zverev|
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Source : Sky Sports