Fixture: (3) Dominic Thiem vs (6) Stefanos Tsitsipas
Date: 15 November 2020
Tournament: Nitto ATP Finals 2020
Round: Round-robin stage
Venue: London, United Kingdom
Category: ATP Finals
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $5,700,000
Match timing: 2 pm GMT, 7.30 PM IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony / Sony Liv
Dominic Thiem vs Stefanos Tsitsipas preview
This year, Thiem comes into the grand season finale after having won the biggest title of his career. The Austrian has shown more confidence on hardcourts this year, as evidenced by his US Open win and his runner-up finish at the Australian Open.
Fatigue, however, prevented the World No. 3 from showcasing his best tennis on clay. Thiem crashed out of Roland Garros in the quarterfinals, in a grueling five-setter to the spirited Diego Schwartzman.
Another quarterfinal loss at home in Vienna was a wake-up call for the two-time Roland Garros runner-up, and he pulled out of the Paris Masters to heal from a bout of blisters. A fully rested Thiem now comes into his fifth appearance at the ATP showpiece event eager to win the title he missed by a whisker in 2019.
World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas meanwhile tasted title glory at Marseille this year, while losing finals at Dubai and Hamburg to Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev respectively. But it was his resilience and fighting spirit at Roland Garros that truly captured everyone's attention.
In his first-ever semifinal appearance at the claycourt Major, Tsitsipas looked on his way out when he lost the first couple of sets to Djokovic. But the Greek staged a remarkable turnaround and stretched the match to a deciding fifth set, with his power, accuracy and variety making for a spectacular show.
A leg injury that Tsitsipas suffered during the match ultimately cost him a chance to keep the fightback going. And the 22-year-old hasn't fully recovered from that yet.
The injury came back to haunt him in a second-round loss to Ugo Humbert at the Paris Masters. There were even doubts over Tsitsipas being able to defend his ATP Finals title before he arrived in London on Thursday.
The Greek has said that he is improving quickly, but it remains to be seen how his leg responds in a high-voltage match.
Dominic Thiem vs Stefanos Tsitsipas head-to-head
Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas have crossed paths seven times so far, with the Austrian leading the head-to-head 4-3. Five of those meetings took place on hardcourts, out of which three went Thiem's way.
Their biggest clash was, of course, in the summit clash of the ATP Finals last year - which was also their only face-off on indoor hardcourts. Stefanos Tsitsipas held his nerve for a gritty 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4) win, and the two haven't met each other on the ATP tour since.
Dominic Thiem vs Stefanos Tsitsipas prediction
In terms of indoor hardcourt prowess, Stefanos Tsitsipas is a little ahead of Dominic Thiem. Four of the Greek's five titles have come on indoor hardcourt, and in contrast, Thiem has won just twice on the surface - at St. Petersburg in 2018 and Vienna last year.
Tsitsipas' athleticism, ability to hit the ball on the rise, reliable serve and willingness to come forward are qualities that are particularly effective indoors. However, the outcome of Sunday's match will also depend on how the Greek is feeling on the court.
If Tsitsipas' fitness isn't up to the mark, a well-rested Dominic Thiem wouldn't waste the opportunity to start his campaign on a winning note.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in three sets.Published 14 Nov 2020, 11:34 IST