The success over the world number two Rafael Nadal at the ATP finals in London is for Dominic Thiem synonymous with the early qualification for the semi-finals. That has been clear since Andrej Rublew (RUS) lost to defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE), whom Thiem defeated in three sets at the start. And so Thiem can go into the last group match against Rublew without any pressure.
Thiem is on Thursday (not before 3 p.m.) against Rublew for another 200 ATP points and $ 153,000 (around 129,000 euros) in prize money, but he can still take it easy and play freely. At his fifth ATP finals, this year’s US Open winner is in the semifinals for the second time after the first two group matches.
Against Rublew, Thiem still has a calculation: Most recently in the quarter-finals in Vienna, the world number three – also because of a blister on the sole of the foot – had to admit defeat to the Russian with 6: 7 2: 6. In head-to-head with Rublew it is now 2: 2.
Victory against Nadal motivates
“A great match that I will remember for a long time,” stated Thiem after his sixth victory in the 15th duel with Nadal, which is well worth seeing. In this form, last year’s finalist in the London O2 arena is again an absolute title contender. “That was maybe my best match since the tour restarted. That makes me super happy, “said the world number three.
Keeping the “white vest” on Thursday would also have another advantage for Thiem: He has the mini-chance of overtaking Nadal in the ranking and becoming number two in the world for the first time: Nadal would have to lose against Tsitsipas on Thursday and be eliminated, Thiem with 5-0 wins to become undefeated champion in London. In this respect, the game against Rublew on Thursday is perhaps worth much more than the points and the prize money.
In any case, Thiem was focused and ready for further great deeds. Strengthened by the self-confidence that, after victories against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, he has now also defeated Rafael Nadal at the showdown in London, Thiem apparently has every chance to take the last step this time after the 2019 final.
ATP World Tour Finals in London
(Great Britain, $ 5.7 million, indoor, hard court)