Thiem edges past Djokovic; in final for 2nd straight year

Thiem edges past Djokovic; in final for 2nd straight year

Austria’s Dominic Thiem

London, November 21

Dominic Thiem came back from the brink to beat Novak Djokovic in a gripping semifinal at the ATP Finals on Saturday as he reached the final for the second successive year.

The 27-year-old Austrian appeared to be sliding to defeat when he trailed 0-4 in the third-set tiebreak but stormed back to claim a 7-5 6-7(10) 7-6(5) victory in just under three hours.

World No. 3 Thiem was the better player in the first set, sealing it with an ace after breaking serve at 5-5. An absorbing second-set tiebreak saw Thiem get four chances to seal victory but he double-faulted on one match point and Djokovic showed true grit to snatch the set.

Serves dominated in the decider and when Thiem started the day’s second tiebreaker and then lost the next three points, it seemed as though the end was nigh. Instead, he roared back, winning the next six points.

Djokovic saved a fifth match point but Thiem finally got the job done when a Djokovic groundstroke drifted long.

“It was a mental battle, I got so tight in the second-set tiebreak,” Thiem said. “To play these legends is always special and to player here is also something special. I thought after winning the title in New York I would be more calm, but that was a mistake I guess.” — Reuters

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