LONDON, United Kingdom.- The hitherto “second-guys” of world tennis, the Austrian Dominik Thiem, 27, and the Russian Daniiel Medvedev, 24, third and fourth in the world rankings, eliminated this Saturday in London at the first two rackets on the planet: Serbian Novak Djokovic and Spanish Rafael Nadal.
They did it in the ATP Finals, the last contest that each year brings together the eight best of each season in London, dethroning the veterans who leave but not before having fought hard. Now the Austrian and the Russian will have to define this Sunday who is the best.
What Thiem did was “unreal”
The Serbian Djokovic, who was eliminated by Thiem, assured in the subsequent press conference that what the Austrian did after the 0-4 against in the tiebreaker of the third and last set was “unreal”.
“What he did from 0-4 in the tie break of the third set was unreal. I don’t think I played badly, I got a couple of first serves, but he broke the ball. Everything went to the corners and , in addition, it put a pair of balls cut to the angle “, explained Djokovic, visibly upset.
“But he deserves it, because he went for it,” admitted the world number one, who will not be able to match the six titles won in London by the other dean, the Swiss Roger Federer, who does not play because he is injured.
“To be disappointed”
“I’m not relieved that the season is over. I enjoy playing tennis, so why should I be relieved? I’m just disappointed to end the year with a loss like this,” Djokovic said.
Thiem, who qualified for his second final of the tennis Masters, pointed out in turn that against the Serbian “luck was on” his “side”.
The Austrian beat Djokovic in a final tie break in which he went 0-4 down before hitting a 7-1 run.
“Today I had some luck in the last ‘tie break’. I already beat Rafa Nadal here a few days ago and Novak today. I am very happy with what happened, but I know it will not happen every day”, Thiem said.
The pupil of the Chilean Nicolás Massú, in the past was also number one in world tennis, he also acknowledged that he became “very tense” in the four match points and that this shows how “tight” these matches are.
In addition, Thiem admitted that he has noticed how Novak Djokovic plays the tiebreakers for all the successes that these tie breaks have brought him in his career.
“I took him as an example because he has won very important tie breaks in his career. When he faces a ‘tie break’ he refuses to fail. It is what I have tried to do since tennis returned and it has been very good for me, but also you need a bit of luck in those tiebreakers. Today luck was on my side. I was very close to losing, “he admitted.
The Spanish Nadal, the second best racket on the planet
Rafael Nadal had everything ready. The suitcases packed, the ticket bought and he had even passed the turnstile of the station. But when he wanted to get on the train that leads to the final of the masters tournament, he blocked himself and gave in a dramatic match against Russian Daniil Medvedev (3-6, 7-6 (4) and 6-3) quoted with Austrian Dominik Thiem this Sunday for the conquest of the trophy.
The Spaniard, who longs for this last great title for his record, had the match in his hand, when he served to defeat the Russian in the second set, but he disconnected, gave life to Medvedev and this ended up passing him in the final set .
After showing a level close to excellence throughout the group stage, counting his three games as victories and having bagged six of six sets, Medvedev reached these semifinals with the air of a favorite. He had beaten Novak Djokovic on the way and two weeks ago he took the title at Paris-Bercy.
Already in 2019 he was about to beat Nadal. He was 5-1 up in the third set and gave up.
The Russian, in his checkered uniform and his game more checkered yet, adhered to the rallies and long exchanges. A scenario that was comfortable for Nadal, who is hurt by aggressiveness and violence.
Nor was Moscow very fine at the service and although the game was going slowly, it was going firmly for the interests of the two players. Nadal began suffering, who had to save three balls from ‘break’ in the third game, but the balance was soon reversed.
When the chair umpire ordered the balls to be renewed, Medvedev anticipated a quiet service. He could break the yellow sphere at will, but his stage collapsed.
Nadal went 0-40 and broke him. He found the crack in the robot and caused a short circuit. That’s why Medvedev crashed the racket the next game, when Nadal was already rushing into a first set simmered, but perfect in the result.
The released tension relaxed the Manacor team too much, who started the second set with one march less. He began to miss, failed to press Medvedev’s first serve and delivered his with a double fault.
It looked like a death sentence to a punch like the Russian, but his shotgun on duty failed. It allowed Nadal to return and recover the disadvantage.
And as if it were a ‘remake’ of what happened last year, Medvedev disintegrated. He went from comfortably leading 4-1 and having the set in his pocket, to losing a bloodbath of occasions.
With 4-4 and a ‘break’ ball in favor of Nadal, a backhand balloon from the Spanish flew over the Russian’s head. There the meeting marched. If he entered, Nadal would be a serve from the final, but to start over.
And I go in. And with him the hopes of the final were opened, but a horrible next game by the Manacorense gave the Russian an extra life. With 5-4 in favor and serve, Nadal lost it blank.
He gave a thread of life to Medvedev, who led the game to the tiebreaker and equalized it by taking advantage of the failures of the Balearic Islands.
In equal sets, a detail would decide the match and Nadal seemed the most likely to concede it. He had dropped the bar a lot and Medvedev looked like at any moment he would break out and accelerate to victory.
He needed four chances, but he managed to break the resistance of the Spaniard, who was playing all the important points badly.
Medvedev broke, went 4-3 up and no longer gave up the advantage. He will be the first Russian since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 to play in the final of the masters tournament.
The Russian will face Dominic Thiem, who beat Novak Djokovic. In front, Nadal will continue to have this tournament pending on his record. That title that one more year will not wear in their windows. EFE