Some stats from Dominic Thiem:
- Dominic Thiem is the second player to beat Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at least 5 times.
- He’s 5-7 against Djokovic, 6-9 against Nadal, 5-2 against Federer.
- Thiem’s win over Djokovic was his 300th ATP win and his fifth win over a current number one.
Some stats from Daniil Medvedev thanks to the ATP stats team:
- After going 0-3 in last year’s edition, Daniil Medvedev is looking to become the first player to win the title after failing to win on his debut.
- Medvedev would also be the second Russian champion in tournament history.
- Medvedev’s top 10 wins in November 2019-October 2020: 0 Medvedev’s top 10 wins of November 2020: 6. He’s also on a nine-game winning streak.
If Daniil Medvedev wins, he will be only the fourth player in history to beat the top 3 players in an event.
There will be 6 ATP Finals champions in 6 years: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem or Daniil Medvedev.
The only other time this happened was between 1974 and 1979.
So what should we be looking for today? I am particularly interested in how both players return today. Despite all his excellent results this year, Thiem has only broken serve in 4/55 (7%) of the return games this week, a staggering statistic. He broke Nadal and Novak Djokovic only once in each match, while Medvedev managed to do it 7 times against them in total.
First of all, this reflects how well Thiem has served this week. It is by no means the largest server in the world, but its variety of serve, with great spin, bounce and precision, is excellent. His shot plus one (right) after his serve has also been sublime as usual.
This stat also reflects how strong he has been in the big moments, holding his serve and then backtracking to raise his level when it matters. Against Nadal, he rallied 2-5 against in the first set tiebreaker, saving one of Nadal’s set points with a 100 mph backhand forehand bomb. Against Djokovic he rallied from 0-4 in the third set tiebreaker with some superb shots. Can you keep living on the edge tonight?
It will be hard. Medvedev handled the services of Djokovic and Nadal much better than anyone in the tournament and he has also served extremely well. He also showed against Nadal that he can sometimes lose his service rhythm like he did at 3-4 in the first set.
In the end, Medvedev should be extremely disappointed if he does not push Thiem’s serve and introduces a different dynamic than in previous matches this week.
Also keep an eye on how much Thiem decides to use his chopped backhand to make Medvedev’s flat groundstrokes uncomfortable. At the US Open, he cut most of his backhand and it worked well. Medvedev had plenty of practice against Nadal’s backhand last night and showed he can adapt after initially struggling.
Today is a big tennis birthday. Billie Jean King is 77 years old. Here is my interview with her from September.
These are the highlights from their most recent meeting at the US Open
Hi! Welcome to our coverage of final final of the ATP Finals in London. It feels quite fitting that this latest edition at the O2 Arena has produced what seems like a remarkable change. Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic started this tournament in good health and decent form, neither played poorly but both were defeated by Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem, tonight’s finalists.
At least four generations of challengers have come and gone since Roger Federer and Nadal first met in a Grand Slam tournament in 2005, but there are finally signs that, as Nadal and Federer move into their 30s, the less Thiem and Medvedev are prepared. compete with them and constantly beat them. Still, doing best of 5 sets at Grand Slams is an entirely different challenge and the next few years will be fascinating to see how long the top two players continue to dominate in the tournaments that really matter.
Today, we will focus on a new rivalry in the making between Thiem and Medvedev. They have played four times in the past, with Thiem taking a 3-1 head-to-head lead, but only their most recent encounter is really relevant here. Medvedev had yet to break through when Thiem edged him 7-6 (5) in the third set in 2018 and out of his two matches in 2019, Thiem demolished Medvedev on clay in Barcelona and then Medvedev chose a part of Montreal ailing Thiem.
When the pair played in the semifinals of this year’s US Open, at the time it really felt like a de facto final. Medvedev’s performance was extremely disappointing. He led 5-3 in the second set and 5-2 in the third, but ended up falling in straight sets to Thiem, 6-2 7-6 (7) 7-6 (5).
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