The third and final Masters 1000 event of the season starts on Monday in Paris, with Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the top seeds. World no. 1 and the defending champion Novak Djokovic will not seek the 37th Masters 1000 title, securing the year-end no.
1 spot in Vienna and deciding to take some rest ahead of London. The US Open champion Dominic Thiem also lost in the quarter-final in Vienna like Novak, struggling with blisters and opting to skip the Paris Masters, leaving Tsitsipas as the 2nd seed.
The Austrian has played in Paris for the previous six years, scoring only seven wins and reaching the semi-final in 2018, losing to Karen Khachanov in straight sets. Seeking the title defense at home in Vienna, Thiem lost to an in-form Russian Andrey Rublev 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 34 minutes, not playing at his best due to blisters and not risking anything ahead of the ATP Finals.
Dominic played well in the first set, producing six comfortable holds and losing the tie break after Andrey's single mini-break, losing momentum after that and propelling the Russian through. Andrey held at love with an ace in the first game, fending off two break chances at 1-1 with service winners to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard.
From 30-0 down in game six, Dominic fired booming serves to bring it home and follow the rival's pace. The Austrian at love at 3-4, hitting a backhand down the line winner to secure the game and send pressure to the other side.
Dominic Thiem will skip the Paris Masters after the quarter-final loss in Vienna.
With no sign of nerves, Rublev placed a backhand down the line winner for a hold at love, followed by three commanding holds that led them into a tie break.
Dominic opened a 4-3 lead with a backhand down the line winner, missing his chances on the return in the next two points to keep the Russian in. The only mini-break came in the tenth point when Thiem sent a forehand long, allowing Rublev to seal the set with an ace in the 12th point.
Andrey grabbed the first break of the match with a forehand winner in the third at 1-1 in set number two. The youngster cemented the advantage with a service winner and clinched another break following Thiem's double fault to move 4-1 up.
Struggling with blisters, Dominic saved a match point in the seventh game before Andrey fired four service winners at 5-2 to seal the deal and remain on the title course.