A shock at the top, a fight of giants like the two players have become used to offer in the recent history of their rivalry. Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem made the O2 Arena of London shine brightly on Tuesday, in a match so high that it could very well become the final of this Masters. The Austrian emerged victorious but had to work to overcome the Serb, he had already beaten during their last showdown, in the semifinals of Roland Garros.
Both winners of their inaugural match in this Masters tournament – respectively face Roger Federer and Matteo Berrettini – Thiem and Djokovic have displayed the color of the game, sending blocks more powerful than the other in endless exchanges. It was believed to witness a new demonstration of the Serb when it broke quickly to lead 3-2, but the 5th world player, winner of the Masters 1000 Indian Wells this year, immediately responded.
A first set of very high level
With 18 winning strokes in the first set, Dominic Thiem made his power speak in forehand to pick up. Inadequate, however, facing the incredible defense of the Djoker, who also showed a surgical precision – only 2 mistakes in the first set – to make the difference. In an irresistible decisive game, in which the two men had each their strong time, the Austrian cracked the first, helpless against a Novak Djokovic impressive cold blood, almost icy. If he does not recover the first place in the world at the end of the Masters, the Serb will in any case given the means. We can not blame him.
But now, as he has shown throughout the season against the members of the Big Three (3-0 in his confrontations against Federer, 1-1 against Nadal and Djokovic), Dominic Thiem has the respondent, and arguments. The native Wiener Neustadt buried his opponent monstrous forehands early in the second set to make the break. He then relied on an excellent first ball (74% points earned) to hold his serve and pocketed the winning round in the second set 6-3.
On a cloud, the double finalist of Roland-Garros repeated the same pattern in the third act. Solid on his line and much more precise, he used Djokovic physically to lead again 2-0. The reverse trend, the Djoker began to get upset, knocked out by the blows of his opponent. He tried to come back by unleashing his turn, but finally ran into the incredible efficiency of his opponent of the day. With four out of four breakout balls, Thiem dealt a blow that was thought fatal to Djokovic taking the lead to lead 6-5, and afford the opportunity to serve for the match.
Missed opportunity since the winner of the Australian Open and Wimbledon returned, again, offering a new tie-break after a long match of almost three hours. Put in trouble on his service, Dominic Thiem gave all he had in the last exchanges, seeing his opponent tense. Feverish in the matches in three sets that he has played this season (1 win, 4 losses), Djokovic finally cracked after the suspense, while the feat stretched his arms (6-7, 6-3, 7 -5). Thiem qualifies for the first time in his career in the final square of the Masters while the Djoker will play his place in the semis in a duel at the top against Roger Federer.