In the repeat of the last year's ATP Finals title clash, world no. 3 Dominic Thiem toppled the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes. It was a great battle in the ATP Finals opener, with the Austrian taking five points more than the Greek to kick off the action in a winning way.
It was their eighth clash and the fifth victory for Dominic, who prevailed with a single break in the decider. Stefanos had momentum on his side after set number two, losing the edge at the beginning of the final set and not finding the way to get back.
The Austrian had 37 winners and 30 unforced errors, leaving the Greek on a 30-26 ratio and forging the victory in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes where he was 65-55 ahead. The third game saw three deuces and a break chance for Thiem, who missed a backhand that could have sent him in front.
Tsitsipas held with a volley winner to open a 2-1 gap before placing a volley wide at 3-3 to offer two break chances to his opponent, saving them both and hitting a backhand crosscourt winner to remain ahead. They reached a tie break after five commanding holds on both sides, with the first mini-break for Tsitsipas at 1-1 after Thiem's forehand mistake.
The younger player placed two booming serves to increase the advantage to 4-1, opening a 5-3 gap before Thiem painted a forehand crosscourt winner to reduce the deficit and extend the set.
Dominic Thiem defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets in London.
The Austrian took charge and won the last four points, seizing the set when Tsitsipas' lob landed long in the 12th point.
The defending champion had the upper hand in set number two, serving well and waiting for a chance on the return. In the third game, he fired a forehand down the line winner to secure the match's first break, holding after deuce to open a 3-1 lead.
Serving for the set at 5-4, the Greek hit a service winner to seal it in style and gain a boost ahead of the decider. Starting all over, Dominic made a better start and opened a 3-0 lead, fending off a break chance in a marathon game five to remain in front.
Serving for the victory, Thiem held at 15 in game nine to wrap up the triumph and make the best start in London, seeking the second notable title of the season after the US Open. "I think that Stefanos and I played on a higher level in our last year's ATP Finals clash.
We were both in great shape in that final, ready to do anything to lift the trophy. The atmosphere was also insane. Today's match was different. The conditions are super fast, there were only two breaks of serve, and I'm happy with my victory.
To beat a top-10 rival at the ATP Finals is aways nice; Stefanos is an established player at the top, with notable titles on his tally," Dominic Thiem said.