Tsitsipas Too Good For Federer, Will Meet Thiem For ATP Finals Title; Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | November 16th, 2019, 11:51 pm
  • 59 Comments

Two players who I didn’t even have making the semifinals are in the title match of the ATP Finals on Sunday. The last tournament of the 2019 season will feature Dominic Thiem taking on Stefanos Tsitsipas after both enjoyed comfortable straight set wins today.

Tsitsipas, who beat Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev during his round robin week, got over once again on Roger Federer. A day after falling in three to Rafael Nadal, the Greek showed no signs of that 3-hour battle with the Spaniard, outslugging Federer who was well-rested and in-form following one of his best performances of the year Thursday against Novak Djokovic.

Like in Australia where Federer went 0-for-12 against Tsitsipas on break points, today, Roger was just as bad going an awful 1-for-12.

Tsitsipas was simply too good in all departments and really took it to Federer during the cross-court one-handed backhand battles.

Bottom line: The 17-year age gap showed.

“I remember myself being one of these kids here, watching the event and..I could never picture myself standing here, but it did happen,” Tsitsipas said. “Dreams do come true.

“Sometimes in matches like this, you wonder how you overcome all these difficulties, all these break points down. It’s really a mental struggle, so I’m really proud that I managed to save so many break points today,” Tsitsipas added. “I was trying not to give an easy time to Roger. He was playing good and shout out to him as well. He did pretty well this week.”

Federer’s exit means on Sunday there will be a new ATP Finals champion for a fourth straight year.

“I thought that he played really well. He took the ball early. I know he does that. I thought I returned pretty good on the first serve,” said Federer.

“But for the most part, I wasn’t quite getting into the rallies the way I wanted to,” he said. “I think I have to credit him for pushing me to not play at the level I was hoping to today.”

Tsitsipas was up on the baseline and Federer just couldn’t hit through the youngster. And once Federer was on the run, he got in trouble.

So Tsitsipas will now get Thiem who won a tight first set then hung on to eliminate defending champion Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-3.

Zverev has been plagued by serving woes all year and it surfaced again today late in the first when he doubled to give the set away. While he was pumping the first serve well, the German star struggled on his second and that cost him. As did some mangled overheads!

Thiem didn’t serve great, but fought through some tight moments in the second and as he’s done all week, all year and all his career, he just ruthlessly pounded ground strokes.

“This is just a big, big dream coming true for me,” Thiem said. “It is one of the best tournaments all year, one of the most prestigious tournaments all year, and I’m getting the chance to play the final tomorrow. It’s unreal to me. To beat the defending champion, a good player, an unbelievable player, this is always a great achievement and I’m very, very happy.”

To the final…

Dominic Thiem v Stefanos Tsitsipas
I’m not surprised the Greek got here. He beat Medvedev and earned his way in. And I’m not stunned he beat Roger today. He’s had a great year and he deserves this final.

I am surprised that Thiem was able to get through Federer and Djokovic in his group. Federer had a great win over Novak. But Djokovic wasn’t right for whatever reason and Thiem took advantage. And did so on arguably his worst surface – a quick hardcourt.

Looking at this match-up, Thiem leads 4-2 with all meetings since the start of 2018. Thiem won recently in the Beijing final in three sets last month and I’m going to give him the slight edge here.

Thiem seems to be in better form of late, has the experience and has the head-to-head advantage.

That said, I think this quick court might be better for Tsitsipas and I think the Greek is more dynamic than Thiem. Stefanos has got a better serve and a little more variety.

“This does feel, in a way, like a Grand Slam, because all eyes are here. Everyone knows this event. Everyone who watches tennis knows what the Nitto Finals are,” Tsitsipas said. “For me, it’s a great new start, great new beginning to be here, playing in the Finals. I would compare it almost as a Grand Slam, for sure, but you have less matches. It’s really very difficult to be in that position I am in right now, and it counts a lot.”

But this match is going to come down to who pounds the ball better and I think Thiem is just a bit stronger in that category.

“One-handed backhand final. We are both very offensive players, he’s very attractive to watch. I love to watch him, so I’m really looking forward to playing,” Thiem said. “I’m so happy and also lucky to get another chance to play in front of this amazing atmosphere.”

If Dominic stays up in the court, gets some errors from Tsitsipas, then he’s the champion. Regardless, it’s a hell-of-a run for both guys, especially for Tsitsipas who was winning the NextGen final this time last year. Now, they each seek their biggest career title. Who gets it tomorrow?
The Pick: Thiem in 3

ESPN2 will have live coverage at 3pm ET. It’s weird without a Big 3 in the title match, but welcome to the future.


You Might Like:
Tsitsipas Overcomes Zverev, Will Meet Thiem In Beijing Final
Thiem Tops Tsitsipas For Beijing Win
Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas In Australian Open SF #1, Who’s The Pick?
Tsitsipas Tops Thiem In A Thriller For ATP Finals Title
ATP Finals Groups: Federer With Djokovic; Nadal To Play

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59 Comments for Tsitsipas Too Good For Federer, Will Meet Thiem For ATP Finals Title; Who’s The Pick?

Old School Says:

This match up is good for tennis & will produce some great play. Two younger players, evenly matched going head to head. Right now both believe they can win. Will prevails, DT slight edge.


chrisford1 Says:

Fair to think we are at the beginning of a changing of the guard, though Novak might be in the mix for another 5 years if he ditches his nutty diet and occultism, Rafa maybe 2-3 years. Though none of the younger stars won a Slam yet, they are showing results in Masters and ATP Championship play and close losses at the Slams.
Are they as talented as the Big 3 plus Andy, able to make as big an impact on the sport in their careers as those guys? No, I don’t think so. But their time is coming and Slams and stardom are coming, too.


Van Persie Says:

Go Thiem!


Van Persie Says:

CF1,

I am sure the youngsters will win slams next year.


chofer Says:

I think Thiem is the btter fighter.

But I like Tsitsipas’ tennis better.


chofer Says:

Tsitsipas should try the lob instead of passing shots. Thiem is so close to the net it wouldn’t have an option. Thiem natural top-spin is more adecuate for lobbing.

Good match so far.


chofer Says:

The “Big 3” fandom it’s annoying since nobody bothers to see a gret match when none of them is playing (?) Where are you people?


Van Persie Says:

Chofer,

Well, I like intensity and endurance 🙂


chofer Says:

@Vp

Naturally, being a Djoko fan. But Thiem seems to me more a one handed version of Rafa:)


fred stone Says:

Well the Greek blinked and Thiem takes set #1.
The three Goats will be missed but time moves on.
Two one-handed backhanders playing in a big final, that’s a rare one this decade.


chofer Says:

Tsitsipas needsto improve that BH. Then again, Thiem didn’thave that BH either at 21.

The Austrian is a very good big match player. Let’s see if he can handle physically a Slam in Hard Courts. Like Rafa, it takes a lot out of his body. Clay comes more naturally to grind it out.


chofer Says:

First break. This is good for the match.


Van Persie Says:

Thiem is kind of a combination btw Rafa and Wawa. Rafa’s topspeen, one handed BH like Wawa.

Med smacks the FH a bit like DelPo, has the endurance but lacks Nole’s deep return, accuracy, backhand an is not as flexible as Nole. But Med can be stubborn like Nole, otherwise I do not see many things in common in their game.

P.S. I prefer Rafa to Roger😁

Tsitsi could be compared to Roger, but we are wrong when comparing them to the giants 😎


chofer Says:

Thiem reminds me of Rafa on HC in the sense that he relaxed a little, lose a bit ofintensity, and the serve is gone.

He needsthe intensity like water in a desert.

Tsitsipas is more natural on this surface.


chofer Says:

Med smacks the FH a bit like DelPo

No. Delpos FH has a cleaner mechanics than the Russian. It’sbetter. Med BHs is his more natural and sounded stroke. He’s stubborn, though.

Idon’t compare them to those giants, but it’seasy to see how the Greek molded his tennis after Federer. He has a better IQ than Dimitrov, too. Which bodes well for his future.

Needs toimprove on big matches. He gets a little tentative o big points. Unlike Thiem, who goes for broke, even if he lands his ball 3 feet out.


Van Persie Says:

Yeah, about intensity, I like Rafa a lot, but can get tired by seing him playing each point, as it is a match point, no matter the opponent.

Nole suits my life philosophy more: give your best in crucial moments😁. even if he changed a bit lately


chofer Says:

The Greek shots have a safest margin ratio than Thiem’s.

And his mechanics are more sound. But coming to a third set, I like Thiem’s endurance and fight. He’s so strong and has much torque on the grip he tries to bully you into errors. Much like Rafa.

Let’s see. As I said, his intensity dropped, the Greek profited.


chofer Says:

Nole suits my life philosophy more: give your best in crucial moments😁. even if he changed a bit lately

Nole is by far the better mover. That’s why hard courts are no problem to him. Even if he’s grinding it out.
He covers the baseline better than rafa. It’s Rafa intensity and willing to adjust on HC that separates him from the rest. Thiem surely saw videos of rafa on hard courts. But he’s willingto come forward more lately. Something Rafa took a long time in realising imo.


chofer Says:

Anyway, it’s not like Rafa didn’t have success on them either. Credit to his self-believe.


chofer Says:

Look for Thiem to recover his intensity on the third set.

And even the match again.

But you see what happen on this surface when the intensity wanes. Even in that trait Thiem reminds me of Rafa.
He needs staying aggressive. Meaning playing closer to the baseline. Something he has learnt, but it’s not natural to him.


chofer Says:

In a way, this match is so far like countless Fedal on hard courts.

Staying aggressive and taking time away from opponents is the Greek’s structure. Like Federer himseld.

Once he improves his BH down the line, watch out.


Van Persie Says:

Well, I did not tell Rafa could not beat them, he’s a bit to intense (also when it is not the case, for my taste)

about Nole:when he does not face a dangerous opponent, he does not spend too much energy, but plays brilliantly when it matters, and boy, he could endure a lot 😁, but this happened more in the past.

Fed playa very smartbut never had the stamina of Nole or Rafa. Very good temnis player, but not the best athlete.


chofer Says:

This is,tactically, like a Fedal. Thiem looking Tsitsis BH. Tsitsi playing behind his FH.


Van Persie Says:

Thiem really challenged on his serve


chofer Says:

Fed playa very smartbut never had the stamina of Nole or Rafa. Very good temnis player, but not the best athlete.

That applies to evry NATURAL I’ve seen:McEnroe, Mecir, Nalbandian,etc.


chofer Says:

To annoy with the comparisons even more: Who is the “silent” type and who’s not?


Van Persie Says:

chofer,

well, I think Rafa and Nole were natural aswell. Stamina was a bonus. They used this advantage properly


chofer Says:

As for the “best athlete” thing, Federer is doing quite well at 38. He hasn’t needed to cover the courts like the others do because he playes well inside. That extends a career, too.

I think he trains, too. No?


Van Persie Says:

Looks like clay specialists cannot be silent lol


chofer Says:

VP

I think “stamina” is a more aproppiate description than “athlete”.

Rafa and Nole has had this in spades. And themental fortitude to back it up.


Van Persie Says:

chofer,

see, I touched a nerve. Ibknew yiu were a Roger fan, as much as yiu want to look neutral. You do not have to hide it 😉.

Well, Febdis doing very well with 38, but still think:peak Nole or peak Rafa are beating peak Roger.

I did not speak about longevity, I spoke about stamina.


chofer Says:

Looks like clay specialists cannot be silent lol

Ithink it has more to do that he requires a more extreme motion to his shots. And,in a way, screaming is a psychological way to keep up the intensity going.

Thiem won’t go away with a fight. That’s the only sure thing now.


Van Persie Says:

sorry for the typos, typing from my phone 🙂


chofer Says:

As much as this surprise you, I wanted rafa to get closer to Roger in GS the last few years. So I was rooting for him.


chofer Says:

Like I said about Thiem…


chofer Says:

In this match,however, I want the Greek to win.

Difficult now. He had the chance to pull the trigger. Like in Shangai finals. Deja vu.


Van Persie Says:

Well, you are not a fanatic Roger fan, in this case 🙂


Van Persie Says:

match far from over


chofer Says:

Well, you are not a fanatic Roger fan, in this case

That’s right.

The match it’s not over but Tsitsipas tends to break a little more under pressure. Let’s seeif he can keep his serve, Thiem, as usual, will go for broke here.


Van Persie Says:

Yes, chofer, forgot about the mental fortitude. Think only Borg has this like Rafa and Nole in the past. Looks like mental fortitude goes with the endurance.

Will we have a TB here?


Van Persie Says:

dramatic match😁

let’s see if Thiem can brat Tsi now


Van Persie Says:

break, not brat


chofer Says:

The thing is that Tsitsi had this on his serve.

That should play on the back of both minds. The psychological advantage is for Thiem now. At the very least, he has the Tb secured.


Van Persie Says:

TB it is.


RZ Says:

This has been a good match to close out the ATP year.


chofer Says:

Tsitsi couldn’t allow to be tentatibe when he has the adv.


chofer Says:

Oh well…


chofer Says:

YAYY!!


Van Persie Says:

Oh well,. Tsitsi won it.

Congrats, chofer!

Sorry for Thiem. He was so close.

Fantastic match


chofer Says:

Wasn’t it clear the always pro-Roger crowd was after?
People see what I see there.

The real Baby Fed is HIM.


Anto Says:

What a fantastic match. Congrats to Tsitsipas. To think that he won in his very first ATP Finals.


chofer Says:

Sorry for Thiem. He was so close.

By a hair. Best match after Thiem-Djoko.

And for being a final, I think this was better.


RZ Says:

Disappointing last point to an otherwise fantastic match.

Big congratulations to Tsitsipas, who’s been so impressive this year. While I’m sad for Thiem, I think 2020 will be an amazing year for him.


chofer Says:

Lasy year’s Next Gen Masters winner, this year’s ATP Finals winner.

That’s improvement.

Twothings he nedds imo: better approach shots and a most stable BH down the line.

He corrects these things and he xan be very difficult to defeat.

One more thing: He grew up on clay. So, after Rafa, Djoko and Thiem, he can do damage there, too.


j-kath Says:

Thiem looked very pale throughout – is that true or is it my TV ? But think he was “under the weather” the second set kind of indicates it. Anyways – it was a good final. Well done both of them. Next year I’m hoping to London for the finals, before it re-locates elsewhere.


skeezer Says:

Congrats Tsitsipas. Great all around game and fun to watch. Theim great run also. One handers rock!👍


chrisford1 Says:

On a little too early to see live in the USA. Would have liked to see the match as it happened, but I can watch it on tape. From the lefty rag The Guardian blow by blow text and comments here, it sounded like a great match. I don’t mind knowing the winner. It is secondary to watching two guys play great tennis.
In the coming year, I’d like to see Thiem take clay season, but have Novak win the French Open as an exception – for my selfish reasons. That said, Djoko needs some fixing if he is going to continue to go at more of Fed’s records.
As for Tsitsipas, great season and you saw him get stronger, better, tougher, with more stamina than in 2018. Good things await him after this fine ATP Championship win.


chrisford1 Says:

And congrats again to Rafa on a well-deserved #1 ATP Ranking for the end of the year.
The Bryan Brothers just announced 2020 will be their last season. Doubles does not get the attention of singles, but the two qualify in my mind, along with the Big three, to be placed in the “Legends” category. An amazing career for the American identical twins.


Colin Says:

The Guardian is a “lefty rag” is it?
My hackles rise whenever I see “lefty” or “liberal” used as terms of abuse. Most of the other UK papers are rightwing rags,notably the Daily Mail, which is known for good reasons as the Daily Heil, since it supported Hitler’s Germany throughout the nineteen-thirties. Its owner, Lord Rothermere,
exchanged back-slapping letters and cables with both Hitler and Mussolini. Well, chrisford, I hope you’re happy with the mad blond’s finger on the button! You seem to share his view of the world.
Meanwhile, I am still missing Andy. Since the final was clinched by the doubles, I wish Jaimie could have been paired with his brother. They just might have managed to beat the Spaniards. Mind you, I suspect Andy will be crippled in middle age if he continues stressing that metal hip.


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