World No.3, Dominic Thiem won the first semifinal of the year ending tournament against Novak Djokovic to enter the championship match for the second year in a row. The Austrian took almost 3 hours to win the marathon semifinal.
The match was filled with comebacks with neither player managing to take a substantial lead at any point in the game. Thiem defeated Djokovic in three sets, 7-5, 6-7(10),7-6(7).
Djokovic started the first set robustly going up early. However, Thiem managed to cut into any lead that the Serb was able to muster. Thiem eventually closed the first set in his favor, 7-5, after winning two games on the trot at the end.
Djokovic, who was on the back foot at the moment, he began the second set in a similar fashion, however, Thiem again vanquished any lead that the World No.1 had over him. The second set went into a tie-breaker. Djokovic won the lengthy tiebreaker 10-12, overcoming four match points.
The decider third set continued with the same back-n-forth, with Djokovic playing the comeback role this time. The set entered into a tiebreaker, but Thiem won this one on the first match point.
Dominic Thiem comes from behind to take the first set
Djokovic started the first set in a dominating fashion. He won the first game to go 1-0 up with the help of some great serves. Thiem responded swiftly equalizing the score a game later. However, the Serb continued his good start and went ahead once again after Thiem committed some unforced errors. The Austrian came back stronger in the following set to level the terms once again. The sets progressed in a seesaw manner for the next several games, with Djokovic retaking the lead only for Thiem to restore the parity.
Both the players played some beautiful shots, but weren’t able to amass a substantial lead against each other. With the score set at 5-5, it was Thiem’s turn to take the lead. The Austrian managed to breakthrough Djokovic with some deft netplay to make the score 5-6. Despite dominating throughout the set, Djokovic failed to capitalize his advantages at crucial points and Thiem won the first set 5-7.
Djokovic wins the 2nd set after a fascinating tiebreaker
The second set began in a similar fashion, with Djokovic taking a quick-fire 1-0 lead and Thiem neutralizing it. The World No.1 restored his advantage a game later, however, Thiem continued his comeback from behind approach to make the score 2-2. The high-quality action continued as the Serb went ahead of his opponent repeatedly only to be pegged back by Thiem. The carbon-copy nature of the second set carried on when Thiem equalized the score 4-4.
Djokovic went ahead again leading the Austrian 5-4, but just as in the first set Thiem managed to come back and make the score 5-5. But unlike the first set, Djokovic won the next game to make the score 6-5, ensuring a tiebreaker even if Thiem wins the following game. That insurance came in handy as Thiem won the next game and plunged the set into a tie-breaker.
Thiem began the tie-breaker strongly, going up 2-0 early on. Djokovic emphatically came back into the tiebreaker and won four points in a row to make the score 2-4. Thiem Managed to cut into Djokovic’s lead and eventually equalized the score. With the help of a monstrous serve the Austrian when one step closer to the finals. With the score set at 5-6, Djokovic survived the match point and equalized the score 6-6. But Thiem was in no mood to let the tiebreaker go, he won the next point and made it the score 7-6. Djokovic was saved again when Thiem committed a double fault. The Austrian’s failure to return the serve helped Djokovic lead 7-8.
Thiem won the next two points to make the score 9-8. The incredible tiebreaker was extended again as Djokovic came back from the brink. Now the score was set at 10-10. Djokovic managed to survive four match points and won the tiebreaker 10-12, to stay in the match.
Thiem wins a thrilling tiebreaker to reach the final
After failing to close the match in the second set, Thiem began the final one with a bang, quickly going up 1-0. In a reverse of the previous two sets, it was now the Serb’s turn to play catch up. He managed to do so but Thiem retook the lead once again. The role-reversal between the two men continued as Djokovic levelled the score to 2-2.
With little-to-nothing separating these two men, Thiem went ahead 3-2, courtesy of some good cross-court shots. The 5 time-champion countered Thiem level once more, but the reigning US Open champion re-established his lead to make the score 4-3. The set went on in an identical fashion, with Thiem leading at 6-5. Just like the preceding set, this set was going to be decided by a tiebreaker as well.
Djokovic set the tone winning 4 points early on. After a horrible start to the tiebreaker, Thiem get one point back with a forceful ace and continued his momentum and made the score 2-4. The Austrian with the help of some backhand shots forced Djokovic to take the risk.
It helped Thiem to equalize the score 4-4. Thiem went one step ahead and took the lead 5-4, after winning 5 points on trot. All of a sudden the Serb was on backfoot, Thiem now went into ballistic mode to win 6 points in a row. Djokovic failed to save the match point this time and Thiem won the tiebreaker to win the match and book his place in the final for a second consecutive year.