LONDON, November 10, 2019
Dominic Thiem opened his 2019 Nitto ATP Finals campaign with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Roger Federer in Sunday’s evening session at London’s O2 Arena. The No. 5 seed from Austria, who captured a career-best five titles this season, secured his fifth match win over the Swiss maestro in the pair’s seventh meeting.
Thiem, who impressed with powerful hitting, broke Federer’s serve three times and outpointed his opponent 77-72 after one hour and 40 minutes.
A HUGE win for @ThiemDomi 💪
His third win over Roger Federer this season.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 10, 2019
“To beat him, everything has to fit together,” Thiem said after his third win over Federer this season. “Today, I think was the case again. I played very well. I played a good match in general. Serving, returning well, which is probably the two most important things indoors. Then, probably, also the last game was crucial. I don’t even want to think about what happens if he wins that game and comes back to a tie-break. So I’m very happy that I pulled that through at 6-5.
“In general, it’s a very nice victory for me. I mean, every time I play against him is a big honour. Beating him is even better, and especially on this surface indoors, where he’s feeling well usually.”
Federer with slow start
“I thought he played well. The start definitely didn’t help. That put me, you know, on the back foot a little bit,” said Federer, who won the season finale crown in 2003-04 (Houston), 2006-07 (Shanghai) and 2010-11 (London). “But I recovered well, and I thought after that the match was actually pretty even for a long period of time. I had my chances. I didn’t feel like I was outplayed or anything. Just maybe that first round hiccups a little bit, not hitting your spots on the serve when you need to, getting into trouble early in the service games which maybe doesn’t happen later on in the tournament. I thought also Dominic saved himself real well when he had to, so I thought he played a tough first-round performance today, and my game was probably just not good enough.”
Federer will next play Matteo Berrettini, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the first singles match of the day. “It’s a normal tournament from here on forward Not allowed to lose anymore for me. That’s how it is every week of the
year for the last 20 years, so from that standpoint there is nothing new there,” Federer said. “Matteo, with his serve, with what he can do, obviously any opponent is dangerous here. He didn’t obviously have the best match today against Novak. It’s probably also the toughest way to start off the World Tour Finals, playing Novak on the indoors, because he rarely has hiccups as well early on in tournaments.”
Kubot/Melo win first match
Earlier in the evening, Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo from Brazil fought past Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Filip Polasek from Slovakia 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 to earn their first win in Group Jonas Bjorkman. The No. 2 seeds, who lifted the trophy in Winston-Salem this year and are making their third straight appearance as a team at The O2, finished the encounter after one hour and four minutes.
“It feels great [to get the win]. I think we played a very good match today,” said Melo. “I think the level was high… We are very happy to play such a great second set and Match Tie-break.”