Dominic Thiem came through one of the tightest three-setters of his career against Novak Djokovic on Saturday. Thiem required six match points and nearly three hours before he could finally shut the door on the Serb.
The Austrian eventually won 7-5, 6-7(10), 7-6 (5), and the fact that there was just one break of serve in the entire match shows just how fine the margins were.
Novak Djokovic raced to a 4-0 lead in the deciding set tiebreaker, and at that point it seemed like Dominic Thiem would succumb to yet another soul-crushing defeat at the year-ending event. But that was when the World No. 3 decided to go for broke; he reeled off six astonishing points in a row before finally closing out the match on his serve.
It wasn’t just the quality of Dominic Thiem's shot-making, but also his incredible resilience that stood out in the match. Speaking to the press later, Thiem stressed on the closeness of the epic encounter - especially in the deciding set tiebreak - where he believes Lady Luck saw him through.
“So it’s always like kind of so close, these matches, that, well, in the end, the one who was a little bit luckier ends up winning,” Thiem said. “I got a little bit lucky in the third set tiebreak. It's so much on the edge, from 0-4 in the tiebreak. I went for every single shot, and every single shot went in. It was amazing.”
Dominic Thiem acknowledged the amount of mental effort required to get past the finish line, and laid special emphasis on the second set tiebreak where he wasted four match points. The Austrian also admitted that he wasn’t as composed as he’d hoped to have been, especially after overcoming the pressure of winning a Grand Slam.
"It was for sure a mental battle,” Thiem said. “Today, for example, in the second-set tiebreak, I was mentally not that strong. I got so tight when I had two match points on my own serve. The first one was a double fault. I was so tight in my whole body. Then the second, as well. I thought after my first big title in New York, I'm going to be a little bit more calm, but that was a mistake, I guess.”
The 27-year-old is ecstatic with his results at the Nitto ATP Finals so far, but he reminded everyone that it is unlikely for such comebacks to become a regular thing.
“Of course, I’m super happy that it worked out today, but it’s not gonna be like that in every match,” Thiem continued. “I know that. I’m just super happy that in such an important match like the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals, it worked out like that.”
Super nice statistics: Dominic Thiem on his record against the Big 3
With his win against Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem registered his 300th win on the tour. The Austrian now also has a unique record to his name: he has at least five wins each against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which is a feat that only one other active player (Andy Murray) can boast of.
The Austrian spoke about this achievement during his presser, and stressed how important such statistics are to him.
“That is super special to me,” Thiem said. “I mean, some things are super special about today’s victory. It was my 300th tour-level win, which is amazing to me. And then to beat every single of the three best players of all time five times each, it’s something great for me. Super nice statistics.”Published 22 Nov 2020, 01:44 IST