Dominic Thiem played some lights out tennis on Tuesday to defeat Rafael Nadal in the round-robin stage of the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals. Even though the Spaniard played close to his peak level, he couldn't find a way past Thiem. The Austrian came up with an answer to everything that Nadal sent his way.
Regarded solely as a claycourt specialist not so long ago, Dominic Thiem has more than proven his ability on hardcourts in recent times. But despite playing some near-perfect tennis against Nadal and against several other players over the past 12 months, the 27-year-old still sees room for improvement.
Thiem pointed out his transition game and net-play as things he would be working on during the upcoming off-season.
"Of course I still want to improve," Thiem said. "I still have a lot of stuff to improve, especially coming to the net and closing out the points better at the net, so that's my goal for the next preseason.”
Dominic Thiem also noted that his hardcourt performances have been on an upward trajectory since the closing stages of 2019. The World No. 3 had won the China Open as well as the title in Vienna last year, before reaching the final of the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.
Thiem also made the final at the 2020 Australian Open, where he agonizingly lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets.
"I think that I raised my level especially on hardcourt towards the end of last season when I started the Asian swing, and then I won Vienna,” Thiem added. “I played a great Finals here, and also Australian at the beginning of the year. So that gives me the feeling I raised my level.”
Dominic Thiem won his maiden Grand Slam at the US Open this year, despite the fact that many believed he would break his duck at the French Open - on his beloved clay.
The Austrian has maintained his high standards on hardcourts all through the pandemic-stricken season, and he credited his extensive practice hours for that.
“I was able to maintain it during the break of the tour, because obviously there was a lot of time for practice to work on things,” Thiem said.
Dominic Thiem is through to the semifinals of the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals
After Stefanos Tsitsipas’ three-set win over Andrey Rublev late on Tuesday, Dominic Thiem was assured of his place in the semifinals of the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals.
Thiem boasts of a 2-0 win-loss record so far, having beaten both Nadal and Tsitsipas. Courtesy of his superior head-to-head record against them, the Austrian is also guaranteed to top his group - even if he loses his last round-robin match against Rublev on Thursday.
By topping his group, Dominic Thiem stands a good chance of avoiding World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semis, given that the Serb is widely expected to top his group as well.Published 18 Nov 2020, 15:54 IST