In what was arguably the best match of 2020, Austria’s Dominic Thiem defeated Spain’s Rafael Nadal 7-6(7), 7-6(4) at the Nitto ATP Finals in the O2 Arena in London.
“I think it was a great match from the first to the last point,” said Thiem. “I was pretty lucky to get that first set. I was 2/5 down in the tie-break. Against Rafa, it is nice to win the first set but he is still there 100 per cent from the first to the last point. I knew that maybe I had a slight advantage when I won the first set, but I still had to stay super focused.”
Both players were sharp from the start and never let up. Nadal was a plus-nine in terms of winners to unforced errors, but Thiem was a plus-15, and played better in each of the set tiebreaks to come away victorious.
“The match was at a very high-level with all strokes,” said Thiem. “I am very happy with the way I served, because most of the time when I get the first serve in, I am on the offense and I have a good percentage to win the point. When I was in difficult situations like the first set tiebreak...the serve helped me out a lot. I think it is maybe the most important stroke in indoor tennis. I am very happy that it worked well.”
Both players now prepare for their third and final round-robin match as Thiem will play Andrey Rublev of Russia, while Nadal takes on Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas.