ATP Finals: Stefanos Tsitsipas edges Dominic Thiem to write history


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ATP Finals: Stefanos Tsitsipas edges Dominic Thiem to write history

In the fourth ATP Finals title clash clash between the first-time finalists, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Dominic Thiem 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 in two hours and 35 minutes for the fourth and most notable ATP title in a career. Thus, Stefanos became the sixth-youngest ATP Finals champion and the youngest one since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, having the upper hand after a tight opening set to write golden pages of the Greek tennis.

Tsitsipas fended off three out of four break chances and delivered three successful return games from ten opportunities, joining the exclusive list of players who have managed to claim the title at this event on debut. Nothing could separate the rivals in the first set, with 45 points for Dominic and 44 for Stefanos who was two points from taking the set on three occasions.

Dominic fended off a break chance in the fourth game and a couple more at 3-4, staying in touch with the youngster who had to survive two break points in the seventh game to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard until the tie break that went down to the wire as well.

From 5-2 down, Stefanos came back to 5-5, with two winners from both to keep them locked at 6-6 before the Austrian earned a crucial mini-break and closed the set with a service winner after 65 minutes. With no room for errors, Tsitsipas raised his level in set number two, dropping two points behind the initial shot and mounting the pressure on Dominic who couldn't endure it.

Thiem sprayed a forehand error in the first game of the second set and fell 3-0 behind after a forehand winner from the Greek who looked better and better on the court as the match progressed. Serving at 5-2, Stefanos landed a service winner to deliver a perfect set with ten winners and one unforced error, something that Thiem failed to follow.

Carried by this momentum, the Greek was the better player in the early stages of the decider, producing two holds at love and securing a break in the third game when Dominic netted a backhand. Stefanos held at love thanks to a forehand winner to cement the advantage but the real battle was yet to come as Thiem broke back in game six to level the score at 3-3.

Both players served well in the remaining six games to set up the deciding tie break, the third in the title matches at this tournament after 1988 and 2005. Tsitsipas opened a 4-1 lead after backhand mistakes from the Austrian who stayed in touch with two return points, reducing the deficit to 4-3.

In the ninth point, Thiem sent a forehand long to suffer another mini-break, netting a forehand to offer two match points to Tsitsipas who converted the first with a service winner to start a massive celebration of the biggest title of his young career.