clearn.png
Thursday February 25th, 2021 7:36PM

Thiem beats Tsitsipas in 3 sets in ATP Finals opener

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Dominic Thiem made sure this year's ATP Finals didn't begin the same way last year's ended.

Thiem outlasted Stefanos Tsitsipas in a rematch of the 2019 final, beating the defending champion 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3 Sunday in the opening singles match of the tournament inside a largely empty O2 Arena.

The U.S. Open champion broke Tsitsipas for a 2-0 lead in the third set with a drop shot at the net and converted his second match point when Tsitsipas sent a forehand wide.

Tsitsipas beat Thiem in a third-set tiebreaker in last year’s final to clinch the biggest title of his career at the season-ending event for the world’s top eight players. But he let the first-set tiebreaker slip away this time, after leading 4-1 and 5-3. Facing set point, the Greek failed to put away a fairly simple overhead at the net before sending a lob long to hand Thiem the lead.

“That was the silliest thing that ever happened to me,” Tsitsipas said about his overhead shot. “I had ball over the net, and I decided to play forehand instead of a smash. I don’t know what kind of decision was that.”

Tsitsipas broke for a 2-1 lead in the second set with a forehand passing shot before leveling the match. He had a chance to break back at 3-1 in the third but netted a backhand, letting out a scream of frustration after the miss. Thiem eventually held serve after a game that went to six deuces, and was never troubled the rest of the way.

“That was crazy, I was pretty tight I must say in that game,” Thiem said about his hold for 4-1. “I think that was the last key moment where the match went finally in my direction.”

This is the 12th and last year that the ATP Finals is played at the 02 Arena before moving to Turin, Italy, next year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic there are no fans inside the 20,000-capacity venue this time — meaning the normally raucous atmosphere has been replaced by an eerie silence interrupted only by muted applause from the players’ boxes between points.

There are also no line judges, as the tournament is using electronic line calling for the first time. The system means players can no longer challenge whether a ball was in or out as those calls get made automatically. However, they can request a video review for other disputed situations, such as double bounces.

“The electric line call, I like it a lot,” Thiem said. “Because, well, there are no wrong decisions anymore. I mean, if the electric system calls it out, it’s out.”

Rafael Nadal was set to take on newcomer Andrey Rublev in the late match. Tsitsipas can still advance depending on his results against Nadal and Rublev in the last two group-stage rounds.

Before the opening match, Novak Djokovic was presented with a trophy on court for finishing the year with the No. 1 ranking for a record-equaling sixth time.

On Monday, Djokovic will face debutant Diego Schwartzman before Daniil Medvedev takes on 2018 champion Alexander Zverev.

___

More AP tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Texans-Browns set to start after storm delay
The Cleveland Browns expect their game against the Houston Texans to begin at 1:37 after the start was delayed by a severe thunderstorm
1:34PM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Woods rallies to avoid worst-ever Masters round
Tiger Woods needed a late rally on the back nine to avoid his worst score ever at the Masters
1:30PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Ethiopia’s Tigray leader confirms firing missiles at Eritrea
The leader of Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray region has confirmed firing missiles at neighboring Eritrea’s capital, and he is threatening more, saying that “we will take any legitimate military target and we will fire.”
1:25PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Green Bay weather could affect Jaguars-Packers
Weather could have an impact on today’s Jaguars-Packers game
12:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
Thiem beats Tsitsipas in 3 sets in ATP Finals opener
Dominic Thiem has beaten defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening match at the ATP Finals
12:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Johnson makes turn with a 2-shot lead at Masters
Dustin Johnson has made the turn in the final round of the Masters with a two-shot lead over Cameron Smith
12:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Metronome Medvedev counters Zverev to win 1st Paris Masters
Daniil Medvedev has won the Paris Masters for the first time
3:07PM ( 6 days ago )
Medvedev beats Zverev to win his 1st Paris Masters final
Daniil Medvedev has won the Paris Masters for the first time
1:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Zverev tops Nadal, sets up Paris Masters final vs. Medvedev
Alexander Zverev advanced to the Paris Masters final for the first time by beating top-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-4, 7-5
1:10PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online Tennis
Zverev beats Auger-Aliassime in Cologne to end title wait
Alexander Zverev has ended his 17-month wait for a title by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 to win the Cologne Indoors
2:01PM ( 4 weeks ago )
Querrey accused of leaving Russia despite virus positive
Organizers of the St. Petersburg Open say American tennis player Sam Querrey was placed in isolation by Russian authorities after testing positive for the coronavirus and then left the country on a private plane
11:53AM ( 1 month ago )
The Latest: Weston McKennie tests positive for coronavirus
Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie has tested positive for the coronavirus
10:54AM ( 1 month ago )
AP Sports - Men's Tennis
The Latest: Texans-Browns set to start after storm delay
The Cleveland Browns expect their game against the Houston Texans to begin at 1:37 after the start was delayed by a severe thunderstorm
1:34PM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Woods rallies to avoid worst-ever Masters round
Tiger Woods needed a late rally on the back nine to avoid his worst score ever at the Masters
1:30PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Ethiopia’s Tigray leader confirms firing missiles at Eritrea
The leader of Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray region has confirmed firing missiles at neighboring Eritrea’s capital, and he is threatening more, saying that “we will take any legitimate military target and we will fire.”
1:25PM ( 26 minutes ago )
The Latest: Texans-Browns start delayed by thunderstorm
A severe thunderstorm has delayed the start of the Houston Texans’ game at the Cleveland Browns
1:13PM ( 39 minutes ago )
The Latest: Langer has performance for the ages at Masters
Bernhard Langer has wrapped up a remarkable performance for the ages at Augusta National
1:10PM ( 42 minutes ago )