In the match of the tournament so far, Dominic Thiem took down Novak Djokovic 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 after two hours and 47 minutes to secure the place in the ATP Finals semi-final! It was the second consecutive triumph for Dominic over Novak and the fourth overall, winning two points more overall and prevailing in the decisive moments to find himself in the last four here for the first time.
The Austrian fended off six out of nine break chances, stealing the Serb's serve four times from as many opportunities and making a comeback in the deciding tie break to cross the finish line first and stay on the title course.
Dominic counted to 50 winners and 44 unforced errors while Novak stood on a 27-21 ratio, with nothing to separate them in the shortest and more extended rallies to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats all the time. Despite a tight scoreboard, Novak was the better player in the opener, dropping only ten points on serve and facing only one break chance.
Dominic converted it to pull the break back, getting broken once from four opportunities offered to Novak to reach the tie break where the Serb had the upper hand. Djokovic had 13 winners and only two unforced errors, taking four points more than the Austrian to claim the opener and move closer to the finish line.
World no. 1 grabbed the first break in the fourth game after a forehand drive-volley error from Dominic who pulled it back with a backhand down the line winner to get back to the positive side of the scoreboard. The Austrian fended off three break chances in the next game, staying in touch with Djokovic until the tie break where he overcame a 5-3 deficit, firing a forehand winner in the tenth point before sending one beyond the baseline in the next point allowing Novak to close the vibrant set 7-5 in the breaker after 64 minutes.
Starting all over, Thiem landed 15 winners in the second set and delivered five good holds to keep Djokovic away from any chance on the return. A backhand down the line winner secured a break point for the Austrian in the second game, converting it after a volley error from Novak at the net to move in front and gain massive boost ahead of the rest of the encounter.
Serving for the set, Dominic held at 15 in game nine to grab the set and send the clash into a decider where he had the upper hand. A forehand down the line winner at the beginning of the final set propelled Thiem in front, fending off three break chances in the next game to confirm the advantage with some brave hitting.
Finding the return again, Djokovic broke back at 15 in the sixth game with a forehand winner, moving two points away from victory at 5-4. Dominic stayed focused, leveling the score at 5-5 and breaking Novak at love in the next game for a 6-5 advantage.
Ice-cold, Novak broke back to set up a tie break where he wasted an early lead, with Thiem moving 5-4 up with a forehand winner and creating two match points with a smash winner. Djokovic saved the first with a deep return but couldn't repeat the same with the second, propelling Dominic over the finish line and setting deciding clash with Roger on Thursday.