Alexander Zverev now has a very realistic chance of defending his ATP Finals title of last year with the German being just two wins away from the repeat. He must first beat Dominic Thiem in the evening session on Saturday’s order of play with either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Roger Federer awaiting in the final. Thiem does currently lead the head to head 5-2 although the majority of those wins came on his favoured clay.
Thiem had been outstanding through two matches with big wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and was already qualified going into his final match with Matteo Berrettini. That showed as he put in a less than stellar performance against the Italian, losing 7-6 6-3 in 1hr14m. “It’s a bit of a tricky situation to know that I’m already through. So all the attention, the adrenaline is set down a little bit.” he admitted. “Of course I was still trying to win that match 100%, but also, in the same time, I knew in my head that I have to take care for Saturday, because obviously it’s the way more important match there.”
Zverev will be the one coming into this match on one less day of rest, having defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Friday night. The serve was a fixture of his opening win against Rafael Nadal and he put up strong numbers in this one too to eventually win 6-4 7-6. He dropped just 6 points on his first serve and denied the Russian any opportunity to see a break point. “The O2 is the most special arena for me. It’s where I play my best tennis, the atmosphere here is something we don’t play in anywhere else in the world. It’s so special to us.” he said. “I’ve still got to improve. We’re in the semi-finals now and it doesn’t get any easier from here. I’m going to have to play my best tennis to have a chance.”
The German is well aware of the threat of Thiem, whose performances on hard courts in 2019 are much improved with something looking to have clicked for the Austrian. “ He has been playing some unbelievable tennis, maybe the best tennis that we have ever seen from him. Actually beating Roger and Novak on this court is very special. Doing it back-to-back is very, very difficult,” Zverev said. The winner of this one will definitely fancy their chances of taking the title on Sunday too – Thiem has two incredible wins over the Big 3 earlier in the week while Zverev is having one of his better weeks on tour and is playing some strong attacking tennis.
Prediction – Dominic Thiem in three sets