Roger Federer suffered a shock opening loss at the ATP Finals falling to Dominic Thiem 7-5, 7-5.
The Austrian had four wins in six tries over Federer entering, but playing indoors at an event Federer’s won six times while Thiem’s never made the semifinals, gave the edge to the Swiss.
Thiem broke Federer for a 2-0 lead only to give it back a few games later. Then broke again at 5-all and again at the same point in the second set.
“To beat him, everything has to fit together,” said Thiem. “Today, I think was the case again. I played very well. I played a good match in general. Serving, returning well, which is probably the two most important things indoors. Then, probably, also the last game was crucial. I don’t even want to think about what happens if he wins that game and comes back to a tie-break. So I’m very happy that I pulled that through at 6-5.
“In general, it’s a very nice victory for me. I mean, every time I play against him is a big honor. Beating him is even better, and especially on this surface indoors, where he’s feeling well usually.”
Federer will now has Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday, than Novak Djokovic on Thursday.
“I thought he played well,” said Federer who falls to 12-5 in opening matches at the ATP Finals. “I mean, the start definitely didn’t help. That put me on the back foot a little bit. But I recovered well, and I thought after that the match was actually pretty even for a long period of time. I had my chances, I felt. I didn’t feel like I was outplayed or anything. Just maybe that first-round hiccups a little bit, not hitting your spots on the serve when you need to, getting into trouble early in the service games which maybe doesn’t happen later on in the tournament.
“I thought also Dominic saved himself real well when he had to, so I thought he played a tough first-round performance today, and my game was probably just not good enough, and the start didn’t help.”
Thiem will now meet tournament favorite Novak Djokovic on Tuesday in a battle of two 5-time champions on the year.
Djokovic crushed newbie Berrettini in his round-robin opener 6-2, 6-1 in just 64 minutes.
“No other reasonable explanation than trying to play as perfect as possible,” Djokovic said. “Everyone is different. Throughout my career, I always intended and always tried to perfect my game and, in the midst of a battle and heat of the moment, sometimes you just get frustrated with certain things regardless of the results.
“Sometimes I really don’t mind the results as much as I care about the execution of certain shots or tactics or whatever it is. That’s all it is.”
Tomorrow, the Andre Agassi Group takes center stage with Rafael Nadal duels defending champion Alexander Zverev. Rafa leads the German 5-0 but the Spaniard comes in nursing an ab injury.
“I have good hopes to be 100 per cent ready for Monday,” Nadal said. “It’s a tournament you will face the top guys since the beginning, so you need to be 100% ready.”
Daniil Medvedev meets Stefanos Tsitsipas in a good battle of two first-timers at the event. Medvedev also holds a commanding 5-0 lead in that match-up.
MONDAY ATP FINALS LONDON SCHEDULE
Centre Court Starts At 12:00 Noon
RR 3 Kevin Krawietz-Andreas Mies v 6 Jean-Julien Rojer-Horia Tecau
Not Before 2:00 Pm
RR 4 Daniil Medvedev v 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Not Before 6:00 Pm
RR 1 Juan Sebastian Cabal-Robert Farah v 7 Pierre-Hugues Herbert-Nicolas Mahut
Not Before 8:00 Pm
RR 1 Rafael Nadal v 7 Alexander Zverev
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