The beginning of the end. Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem kicked off the final tournament of the year in London. For Novak the World Tour Finals is a home from home for Dominic his first appearance on one of the biggest stages of the year!
Well, you wouldn’t have blamed Dominic Thiem for suffering from nerves early on in the match but the Austrian did take a few moments to settle and soak it in but after the first four games looked at home at the World Tour Finals.
Thiem’s opening service games were quite long but managed to strive through them and part of what helped him was his variety on serve. Whether it was the serve down the T on the deuce side or the body serve but it was the kick out wide which caught my attention.
This serve gave him that scope to open up the court. It pushed the former world number one off the court and then gave Thiem the chance to go for that stunning backhand down the line which we saw a couple of times in the first set.
The set continued to be played on serve but in the 11th we started to see frustration from both with their body language sensing the time to get ahead before a potentially dangerous tie-break and with Thiem 5-6 down serving to stay in the set you would have thought nerves might play a part but they didn’t as the Austrian held once again and commence the tie-break.
Nerves did play a part for both. Thiem managed to hit 3 double faults in the tie-break and despite being 6-2 up couldn’t seal the set with Novak levelling up at 6-6. The drama continued and on the 7th set point for Thiem sealed the set to take it 12-10.
At the end of the set Novak recieved a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct after firing a ball in frustration towards his box which narrowly missed Becker and Vajda but it seemed to spur him on.
Momentum had fallen quite quickly and dramatically for the Austrian who was broken for the first time and the second time at the beginning of the second set and before you know it the defending champion was 4-0 up!
Sometimes tennis does leave you speechless and before you know it after winning such a dramatic first set get’s bageled in set two! Bizarre!
Holding serve at the start of the third seemed vital in just staying in this match and for Thiem he managed to get ahead in set three. Before you know it Djokovic had edged ahead with that crucial break of serve finding his rhythm to take a 3-1 lead, is there a way back for the Austrian?
Keeping it at one break just would have kept Thiem in touching distance of getting level but being broken at 2-4 meant that Novak would serve for the match.
He may have showed signs of frustration and lack of sharpness in set one but the master does it again from 6-7 down to win 6-7 6-0 6-2 against the young Austrian who gave his all but left with nothing having said prior to the match that “against a guy (Djokovic) like that there is no plan” and that was pretty evident in the final hour of the match after giving his all in set one physical he couldn’t keep up with the world number two.
Screenshot credit to SkySports