The standout performer so far at this year’s ATP Finals has been Dominic Thiem, who seeks to go 3-0 in his group ahead of the semi finals. He will play the 0-2 Matteo Berrettini, who has found it tough in his opening two matches as a surprise qualifier.
Berrettini came into the tournament as the only player of the non-Big 3 qualifiers to have given Federer, Nadal or Djokovic trouble in his early career. That run continued as a straight sets loss to Roger Federer ensured he would not be taking part in the semi finals at the weekend. He remained competitive in the 7-6 6-3 defeat but class told at the key moments in the match. Even his taking part in the ATP Finals will provide a solid foundation for a 2020 where he will seek to take the next step.
Thiem’s struggles on hard courts look well and truly behind him if 2019 is anything to go by. The Austrian has begun to show a greater sense of urgency and aggression and that showed in the 51 winners he hit to earn a shock three set victory over Novak Djokovic in the match of the tournament. “It was maybe the best match I’ve ever played,” Thiem said. “It was a real classic and epic match, which will happen from time to time at these big tournaments. I knew that I had to play like this to beat him. Probably Novak is the best player in the world right now, so I had to do something outstanding, something unusual, and that’s what I did. I mean, I was hitting really, really hard.”
“Of course, it’s a little bit more comfortable now that I don’t have a lot of pressure in this match, but of course I want to continue the great shape and then [turn my] full focus on the semi-finals.” Thiem said on this match. The pressure is off now with the Austrian having qualified but with an unbeaten tournament still a possibility for him, he is unlikely to let up in this one. Thiem is 2-1 against Berrettini with the most recent match being a comeback victory for him on his way to the Vienna title last month.
Prediction – Dominic Thiem in straight sets