The 5th seed Dominic Thiem is through to his first ATP Finals title match, defeating the defending champion Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 34 minutes. The Indian Wells champion is through to his biggest final on hard court, becoming the second player of the season with at least seven ATP finals after Daniil Medvedev and setting the title clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.
It was their eighth meeting and the sixth victory for the Austrian who was the favorite after beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the round-robin stage, fending off all four break chances and delivering one break in each set to cross the finish line first.
Thiem had 22 winners and 24 unforced errors, leaving Zverev on a 20-27 ratio, hitting a service winner in 34% of the points on serve and having the upper hand in both the quickest and most extended exchanges. Alexander had his chances in the opening games, wasting a break point in the third game after a service winner from Dominic who landed another winner at 2-2 to erase another break opportunity and stay on the positive side of the scoreboard.
They both served well until game 12 when Zverev had to show focus and stamina and send the set into a tie break. Instead of that, he hit a double fault to hand the set to Dominic after 51- minutes, mighty disappointed after such an outcome.
The returners faded from the court in the first four games of the second set before Thiem seized the third break chance in the sixth game, moving 4-2 in front and closing the seventh game after a service winner following two break opportunities he repelled, forcing Zverev to serve for staying in the match.
The German reduced the deficit to 3-5 but that was all he could do, as Thiem sealed the deal with a forehand down the line winner in game nine to advance into the final, the first at this event with two players with one-handed backhands since 2006!