World Number Three, Thiem, Waits On US Open Decision

Dominic Thiem of Austria reacts after winning the ATP Tour Tennis Open semi-final match against Matteo Berrettini of Italy in Vienna, Austria on October 26, 2019.
Michael GRUBER / EXPA / APA / AFP

 

World number three Dominic Thiem said in an Austrian media interview published Saturday that he was keen to play the US Open if it can go ahead.

The United States has seen an alarming resurgence of new coronavirus cases. On Friday a record 57,000 new infections were confirmed.

The ATP and WTA tours are due to return next month, with the US Open starting on August 31 and the French Open beginning a month later.

Thiem said he trusted the US authorities to make the right decision.

“I think in the next five to seven days there will be a decision,” Thiem said.

“Of course I hope it (the US Open) will go ahead, but safety comes first of course. We have to follow countries’ governments — if they see any danger, they won’t allow a tournament, especially such a big one as the US Open,” the Austrian told public broadcaster ORF.

The 26-year-old plans to play in Kitzbuehel in western Austria in an exhibition event he is co-organising next and then in Berlin, after which he said he would do “intensive training” to prepare for Cincinnati and the US Open if those go ahead.

He played in the Adria Tour exhibition tournament organised by Novak Djokovic last month after which the world number one and three other participants all tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The matches, where social distancing was minimal, were played in front of thousands of fans, while the players were seen partying at a packed Belgrade night spot, earning a storm of criticism.

Thiem, who has tested negative for the new coronavirus since Belgrade, reiterated in the ORF interview the “huge mistake by us all”.

“We all acted much too euphoric. The most important is that we learn from our mistakes,” he said.

 

AFP

Djokovic Beats Thiem In Five Sets To Win Eighth Australian Open

 

Novak Djokovic battled through intense pressure from Dominic Thiem to reassert his dominance at the Australian Open Sunday, claiming a record eighth title and returning to world number one in the process.

The indomitable Serb stretched his unbeaten streak this season to 13 by rallying from two sets to one down and beating the courageous fifth-seeded Austrian 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a near four-hour ordeal.

It was his 17th Grand Slam title, moving him within two of Rafael Nadal and three of Roger Federer on the all-time list.

The victory put him alongside his fellow legends as only the third man in history to win eight or more titles at the same Slam after Nadal (12 at the French Open) and Federer (eight at Wimbledon).

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It also ensured he will once again be world number one when the new rankings are released on Monday, usurping Nadal. Federer remains third with Thiem moving up a place to a career-high fourth.

But it wasn’t easy with the Serb looking lethargic and out for the count in sets two and three before regaining his mojo after a medical timeout to grind down the talented Thiem.

Djokovic had never before won a Slam final in seven previous attempts when finding himself two sets to one down.

The Serb, 32, was the overwhelming favourite, but the supremely fit and fast Thiem, 26, always had the weapons to trouble him, which he deployed successfully for much of the match, taming his serve and unleashing some explosive groundstrokes.

It was a nerveless start from Djokovic, who comfortably held then put big pressure on the Thiem serve, with a forehand into the net giving him an immediate break and a psychological edge after some monster rallies.

Thiem, though, is as strong mentally as he is physically and he finally got on the scoreboard after another tough service game.

And against the run of play, with Djokovic seemingly in control, he broke back, unleashing pinpoint groundstrokes to make the most of some loose Djokovic shots.

But the world number two was unrelenting, breaking again as Thiem served to stay in the set, with the Austrian sending down his first double fault of the match at the crucial moment.

Remarkably, a rare Djokovic double fault handed Thiem a break to go 2-1 up in set two with the courageous Austrian refusing to go away.

The Serb was getting frustrated, looking at his coaching box and pointing at his head.

He refocused and once again began attacking the Thiem serve, breaking back for 4-4, pumping his fists when the fifth seed sent a backhand wide.

But two-time warnings on his serve in the next game rattled Djokovic and he was broken again, with the Serb losing his cool by patting the umpire’s foot at the changeover.

He had words with the official before Thiem served out the set — the first the Serb had dropped in an Australian Open final since 2015.

Djokovic looked dejected and was immediately broken twice in set three as Thiem raced to a 4-0 lead, having won six games in a row with Djokovic imploding.

The Serb was heard telling a trainer he was tired and after losing the set, he went for a medical timeout.

He came back and the fourth set went with serve until a Thiem double fault handed the Serb two break points and he converted to regain control, serving out the set with an ace.

Djokovic drew on all his experience to force another break in the deciding fifth set to take a 2-1 lead and kept his foot on the gas to claim an eighth crown from the last 13 Australian Opens.

AFP

Thiem Outclasses Zverev For Final Showdown Against Djokovic

Germany’s Alexander Zverev reacts after a point against Austria’s Dominic Thiem during their men’s singles semi-final match on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 31, 2020.
William WEST / AFP

 

Tireless Dominic Thiem came from a set down to outlast German Alexander Zverev and make his first Australian Open final Friday, booking a showdown with seven-time champion Novak Djokovic.

The 26-year-old fifth seed, the first player from Austria ever to reach the Melbourne decider, battled past seventh-ranked Zverev 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) on a sweltering evening.

Defending champion Djokovic awaits him after the second seed ended Roger Federer’s dreams in straight sets Thursday to make his eighth Melbourne Park final.

Thiem has his work cut out against the Serb who is on a 12-match unbeaten streak this season and has won all seven of the Australian Open deciders he has contested.

And if Djokovic needs extra motivation, winning on Sunday will see him reclaim the world number one ranking after Rafael Nadal crashed to Thiem in the last eight.

“It was an unreal match, two tie-breakers, so tough and so close. It was almost impossible to break him,” said Thiem.

“Being in the Australian Open final is unreal. What a start to the season for me.”

Thiem had dealt with semi-final pressure before, although always on the slower red clay at Roland Garros, where he reached the past two finals only to be beaten by Nadal.

That experience paid dividends as he coolly closed out the match after 3hrs 42 mins to give himself another chance to break the stranglehold of the Big Three and win his first Grand Slam.

“I was playing four hours 10 against Rafa (in the quarter-finals), who is the most intense guy on tour, almost always so intense and long,” Thiem said.

“So it was not easy to recover. But once all the adrenalin came, already when I walked into the full stadium was fine, actually, but still I had some troubles in the first set.”

 

– Light failure –

A jittery Thiem was broken in the opening game, saving two break points before sending a backhand wide to immediately be on the back foot.

Both players were nervous and the German failed to consolidate, broken straight back.

Their momentum was interrupted when the rain began falling and the roof needed closing, but it was only a brief intermission and Zverev resumed to hold for 2-2.

Thiem was still struggling with his first serve and a double fault handed the German a chance to go 4-3 in front and he grabbed it.

Zverev took command, putting 90 percent of his booming first serves in, and broke again to seal the set as the Austrian error-count mounted.

But the 22-year-old lost focus and two double faults in game three of the second set handed Thiem a 2-1 lead.

Zverev managed to break back but he was too erratic as Thiem broke again and clung on, firing an ace to take set two.

Bizarrely, play was halted for nine minutes one game into the third set when a light went out above the baseline and it bothered Zverev.

When they resumed, Thiem held serve and then broke with an epic backhand winner as Zverev again lost concentration and the momentum appeared to shift.

Thiem is one of the best returners in the game and was getting almost every ball back. He looked to be on his way, but Zverev refused to surrender and broke again to even it up.

It went to a tiebreak where Thiem turned on the style to take a stranglehold on the match.

There was little between them in the crucial fourth set as they traded blows. It went to serve and another tie-breaker when Thiem’s experience helped him over the line.

AFP

Australian Open: Nadal Stunned By Thiem In Epic Quarter Final Clash

Spain’s Rafael Nadal walks off the court after losing against Austria’s Dominic Thiem during their men’s singles quarter-final match on day ten of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 29, 2020.
William WEST / AF

 

Austria’s Dominic Thiem stunned Rafael Nadal in an “epic” four-setter Wednesday to send the world number one tumbling out of the Australian Open and set up a semi-final against Alexander Zverev.

The fifth seed, beaten by Nadal in the last two French Open finals, battled past the Spaniard 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6) to deny him a crack at a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.

He will now meet German seventh seed Zverev, who shattered the dreams of veteran Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to book his maiden place in a Grand Slam last four.

Awaiting the winner of that clash will be either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or six-time winner Roger Federer, who meet in the other semi-final.

 

Spain’s Rafael Nadal (L) congratulates Austria’s Dominic Thiem on his victory in their men’s singles quarter-final match on day ten of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 30, 2020. DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

“All the match was on a very good level, I think we are both in great form,” said Thiem, only the second Austrian to make the Melbourne semis after Thomas Muster — the man he sacked this week as an advisor.

“Today I had the feeling I was lucky in the right situation… it is necessary because he is one of the greatest of all time. You need some luck to beat him.”

Thiem added that he was ecstatic at beating “a great champion” and “really proud how I stayed in the match”, which he called “an epic”.

Top seed Nadal had a 9-4 record over Thiem and had beaten him in all their five previous Slam meetings.

But the last time they played on hardcourts — at the 2018 US Open quarter-finals — it was a five-set marathon.

And the signs pointed that way again, with the opening set on serve to 2-2 before Thiem, gunning for a first Grand Slam title, worked a breakpoint but couldn’t convert.

Both baseline-huggers, it became a slugfest before Nadal managed to open some doors on the Thiem serve in game eight and he broke with a perfect lob from the back of the court.

But Thiem came roaring back, breaking back with a ripping crosscourt return. He saved a set point to take it to a tie-breaker where he rocked Nadal to seal a one-set lead.

– Famous victory –

Nadal, dripping in sweat on a steamy Melbourne night, attacked in the second set and Thiem lost his serve to love to go 3-2 behind.

But the Spaniard, the 2009 champion, became riled when issued with a warning for taking too long to serve and it rattled him, sending down a double fault as Thiem squared the set at 4-4.

Nadal saved a set point and it went to another tie-break where Thiem prevailed at the crunch thanks to a lucky net cord.

The third set was similarly tight, with no breaks until Nadal teased some errors from Thiem as he served to stay in the set, pumping his fists in celebration.

But when Nadal shanked a forehand to be broken in the third game of set four, the momentum swung back to the Austrian. He lost his nerve serving for the match at 5-4 before finally getting over the line in a tie-break for a famous victory.

“Of course, I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semi-finals of another Grand Slam. But I lost against a great opponent. And he deserved it, too,” said Nadal.

Thiem now faces Zverev, who bounced back after being demolished in the first set by 2014 champion Wawrinka to take control and run out a comfortable winner.

Long touted as one of the next generation capable of breaking through to end the Grand Slam dominance of Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, Zverev credited a more relaxed approach for his success in Melbourne.

“I’m doing many more things outside the court,” he said, adding that after a poor performance at the recent ATP Cup he did not have high expectations.

“Maybe this is a stepping stone. Maybe this is how it should happen.”

AFP

Tsitsipas Beats Thiem To Claim ATP Finals Title

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas poses with the winner's trophy after winning the men's singles final match on day eight of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 17, 2019.
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas poses with the winner’s trophy after winning the men’s singles final match on day eight of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 17, 2019.

 

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas battled back from a set down against Dominic Thiem to win the ATP Finals title on Sunday, emphatically staking his claim as the leader of the next generation of aspiring global superstars.

The Greek 21-year-old, who won, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)  is the youngest champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fourth first-time champion at the season-ending event in as many years.

It is Tsitsipas’s third title of the season and comes a year after he was crowned champion at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

He has charmed the crowd at London’s O2 Arena all week and earned his place in the final with an impressive straight-sets win against six-time champion Roger Federer.

“I can’t sum up my emotions right now,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s amazing to be remembered as the 2019 champion. It is a dream come true and the best way to end this match.

“I did get nervous at some points in the match but I managed to forget about how I felt and I had momentum in the tie-break which was really tight.

“My fighting spirit and me constantly trying to push myself to do better got me there in the end.”

Defeat is a bitter disappointment for Thiem, who won five titles this year, including the Indian Wells Masters, and reached a second successive French Open final.

There was little to choose between sixth-seed Tsitsipas and Austria’s world number five Thiem in the first set as a total of five break points went begging.

Both players had impressed on serve during the tournament, with Tsitsipas’s figures especially striking — 44 service games won out of 47 leading into the final.

In an inevitable tie-break Tsitsipas saved a set point at 5/6 but Thiem clinched his second set point with a powerful serve that the Greek returned into the net.

Tsitsipas breaks

But Tsitsipas regrouped and within minutes Thiem, who beat his opponent in three sets in the Beijing final last month, was under pressure, spraying a forehand wide to concede first break of the match.

Tsitsipas held with ease and then produced a forehand down the line to break again, with Thiem threatening to unravel. Tsitsipas had won 12 out of 14 points in the set.

Thiem, who like Tsitsipas plays with a single-handed backhand, stemmed the tide but could make little impression on his opponent’s serve and lost the set 6-2.

Thiem was rocking again at the start of the deciding set. He saved two break points in the first game but looked increasingly shaky and was broken to trail 1-2.

The Greek was now well on top but out of nowhere Thiem was level at 3-3 after Tsitsipas put a backhand wide.

The Austrian was now playing with much more confidence, unleashing a series of blistering winners and edged ahead 5-4 after another service hold but the rest of the set went with serve.

In the deciding set tie-break Tsitsipas took a 4-2 lead but was pegged back to 4/4.

But on the next point Tsitsipas earned a mini-break, giving him the chance to serve out for the match and he made no mistake, closing out the biggest victory of his career.

Tsitsipas has competition among his peers as the new generation attempt to dislodge Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who have dominated the men’s game for the past 15 years.

World number four Daniil Medvedev won two Masters titles this year and reached the US Open final while Alexander Zverev was in London defending the title he won last year.

But Tsitsipas, who has beaten every member of the “Big Three” in 2019, will go into the new season with the belief he can take the next step towards the apex of the men’s game.

 

AFP

Thiem Sees Off Berrettini To Reach Vienna Final

Dominic Thiem of Austria reacts after winning the ATP Tour Tennis Open semi-final match against Matteo Berrettini of Italy in Vienna, Austria on October 26, 2019. Michael GRUBER / EXPA / APA / AFP

 

Dominic Thiem closed in on his 16th career title on Saturday after reaching the final in Vienna by beating Matteo Berrettini in an enthralling semi-final 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Top seed Thiem will face either Gael Monfils or Diego Schwartzman in Sunday’s final after coming through a tough match with his Italian opponent in front of an overjoyed home crowd.

The world number five, who won the China Open earlier this month, also gained revenge on Berrettini for beating him in the quarter-finals in Shanghai two weeks ago.

However 23-year-old Berrettini will still be satisfied with his tournament, as his last four finish ensures that he will become only the fourth Italian man to break into the world top 10 and boosts his hopes of making the season-ending ATP finals.

Berrettini came out on top of an entertaining first set which saw both players share breaks of serve before the Italian held his in game eight to make it 5-3, then breaking Thiem again to seal the set.

The pair opened the second set by exchanging service games until Thiem snatched game five, when after fighting back from break point to deuce Berrettini hit two weak shots into the net to fall a break back.

Berrettini broke back in a tight game eight and comfortably took the lead on his serve in the next before Thiem levelled at 5-5 on his serve.

Backed by a roaring home crowd, Thiem then got the arena on its feet when he broke again after another game taken to deuce before serving out the set to level the match.

He took control of the third set in game seven when he broke to make it 4-3 after the pair slugged out six service games.

He then held his serve and made sure of the win on Berrettini’s next service game to give himself a chance to win his fifth tournament of the season.

AFP

Thiem Wins Home Ground Title In Kitzbuhel

Dominic Thiem of Austria (L) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain celebrate with Champagne after the singles final match of the Generali Open Tennis Tournament of the ATP Tour in Kitzbuehel, Austria on August 3, 2019. Stefan ADELDBERGER / EXPA / APA / AFP

 

 

Top seed and world number four Dominic Thiem captured his 14th career title and first on home ground on Saturday with a 7-6 (7/0), 6-1 win over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final of the Kitzbuhel clay-court tournament.

It was Thiem’s third title of 2019 after a maiden Masters win at Indian Wells and in Barcelona on the eve of Roland Garros where he eventually went on to finish runner-up to Rafael Nadal for a second successive year.

Thiem, who lost the 2014 Kitzbuhel final to David Goffin, becomes only the second Austrian player to lift his home title following former world number one Thomas Muster in 1993.

“It’s already one of my most beautiful moments ever in my tennis career,” said Thiem.

“It was one of the most emotional moments because I have a special connection with Kitzbuhel. I was here for the first time when I was six on this huge centre court. I was watching the tournament many times.

“I got my first wild card here and now to finish the tournament as the champion is incredible. I reached one big childhood goal today.”

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Next up for Thiem is a return to hard courts and the Montreal Masters from next week where he starts as second seed to Nadal after the withdrawals of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The 25-year-old will face either 2017 Montreal semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov or Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his Canadian opener.

Nadal Faces Thiem For 12th Roland Garros Title

Dominic Thiem (L) and Rafael Nadal will battle for the French Open crown on Sunday, June 9, 2019. AFP photos.

 

Rafael Nadal admits winning a 12th Roland Garros title and 18th major would once have seemed liked an “incredible” dream in a career so often at the mercy of a succession of morale-sapping injuries.

However, Nadal, the second seed, knows he cannot under-estimate Austria’s Dominic Thiem when they meet again in the Roland Garros final on Sunday.

Thiem has four wins on clay over the 33-year-old Spaniard — only Novak Djokovic has more.

The 25-year-old arrives in the final having shocked world number one Djokovic in a five-set semi-final on Saturday.

“Yes, it’s incredible to be here again to be honest,” said Nadal, who has never lost a Roland Garros final and boasts a 92-2 record at the tournament since his 2005 debut.

“It is very special and difficult to explain, but here we are. And the day that we start thinking about if it’s incredible or not probably will be the day to do another thing.”

Nadal has hardly broken sweat at the French Open this year, making the final for the loss of just one set, against David Goffin in the third round.

Against Roger Federer in the semi-finals, he conceded just five games, handing the Swiss his worst Slam loss in 11 years.

“There is nobody who even plays remotely close to Rafa,” admitted Federer.

“I don’t even know who I need to go search for to go practice with somebody who plays like him.”

‘Ultimate challenge’

Victory on Sunday will move Nadal on to 18 majors, just two behind Federer on the all-time list.

He is also the best part of five years younger than his old rival.

“This is something I never dreamed about five, six, eight years ago, but it’s happening today,” said Nadal who has been written off numerous times in his career.

His battles with knee and wrist problems have seen him miss eight Grand Slam tournaments.

A wrist injury forced a withdrawal from Roland Garros after two rounds in 2016 which in turn forced him to sit out Wimbledon.

“My goal is to keep going,” a defiant Nadal added.

The world number two allowed Thiem just nine games when they met in the 2018 final in Paris.

However, the Austrian won their most recent meeting on clay in the semi-finals in Barcelona in April in straight sets.

Nadal also needed five sets to see off Thiem in the quarter-finals at the US Open last year.

He leads their head-to-head 8-4.

Despite having to play four days in succession, Thiem said he was happy to come back out again on Sunday.

His coach Nicolas Massu, however, had said he asked the tournament referee if the final could be shifted back 24 hours.

“I think it’s fine. I mean, it’s not the first time that that happens in tennis, and it’s not going to be the last time. That’s our sport,” said Thiem.

Thiem, bidding to become just Austria’s second Roland Garros men’s champion after Thomas Muster in 1995, describes facing Nadal in Paris as “the ultimate challenge”.

“I played a really good match against him in Barcelona. It was six weeks ago. So of course I try to do similar even though it’s way tougher to play him here,” he said.

Despite playing over four hours over two days to defeat Djokovic for just the third time in 10 meetings, Thiem has only spent two more hours on court than Nadal getting to the final.

“I’m feeling fine. I’m full of adrenaline still from today’s match, and also I will have that tomorrow,” he added.

“So I’m not going to be tired. It’s all going to come after the tournament. So I’m ready to leave all or everything what I have out on the court tomorrow.”

AFP

Thiem Sweeps Past Medvedev For Barcelona Title

Austria’s Dominic Thiem celebrates on the podium after defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during the ATP Tour Barcelona Open final tennis match in Barcelona on April 28, 2019. Pau Barrena / AFP

 

Dominic Thiem overpowered Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-0 on Sunday to win the Barcelona Open title, boosting his credentials as a potential Roland Garros champion.

A day after knocking out 11-time Barcelona winner Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, the third-seeded Austrian claimed his second title in four events after beating Roger Federer at Indian Wells last month.

He is also the first Austrian to take the Barcelona title since Thomas Muster in 1996.

READ ALSO: Cannavaro Resigns As China’s Coach After Two Matches

“It’s such an honour to win here, only the biggest champions have done it,” said 25-year-old Thiem.

“I’m so happy and proud to join Muster here, now my name is on the trophy.”

Thiem hoisted the weighty 13-kilogram golden trophy in triumph in front of a full stadium on a cloudy, chilly day at a venue named for Nadal.

He has now reinforced his claim for a possible French Open title after losing the Paris final a year ago to Nadal.

Thiem needed just 73 minutes to earn victory over his seventh-seeded Russian opponent, who needed treatment on his shoulder late in the first set.

The Austrian got off to a slow start, losing his first serve, but made up for lost time by breaking Medvedev twice in the first set before completely dominating the second.

“I had troubles at the start,” Thiem said. “My slice was not working and he does not miss.

“My slice got better but I had to turn defence into offence, that was my only chance. He’s difficult to play, dangerous from the baseline.

“There were a lot of long, tough rallies in the first set, I’m really happy I made it.”

Thiem will now have a few days off prior to the start of the next big date of the pre-Roland Garros calendar, the Madrid Masters.

The Austrian now owns 13 ATP titles and nine on clay, his favourite surface.

AFP

11-Time Champion Nadal Beaten By Thiem In Barcelona Semis

Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during the semi final tennis match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament on April 20, 2019 in Monaco.
YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

Dominic Thiem stunned Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday at the Barcelona Open to knock the Spaniard out in the semi-finals of his home event.

Thiem, beaten by Nadal in last year’s French Open final as well as 2017 final in Barcelona, will play on Sunday against Daniil Medvedev for the title. The Russian beat two-time champion Kei Nishikori 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in their semi-final.

READ ALSO: Abdominal Injury Forces Osaka Out Of Stuttgart Semis

Nadal’s defeat comes just a week after he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters where he is also an 11-time champion.

AFP

Thiem Overtakes Federer After Indian Wells Triumph

Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates after a break point during the third set against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day fourteen of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 17, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

 

Dominic Thiem climbed to a career-best ranking of fourth on Monday after clinching his maiden ATP Masters title with his defeat of Roger Federer at Indian Wells.

Austrian Thiem, who was also briefly ranked fourth in the world in late 2017, rose four places after beating Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday to deny the Swiss star a record sixth Indian Wells crown.

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Federer, 37, dropped one spot to fifth as the top three remained unchanged with Novak Djokovic ahead of Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev despite the Serb’s third-round exit in California.

Nadal, who pulled out of his semi-final with Federer due to a knee injury, will skip this week’s Miami Masters as he targets a return to competition for the clay-court season.

Juan Martin del Potro dropped three spots to eighth after he was unable to defend his Indian Wells crown because of a knee problem. The Argentine will also miss the Miami event.

ATP rankings on March 18:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,990 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,725

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,630

4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 4,755 (+4)

5. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,600 (-1)

6. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,235 (+1)

7. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,115 (-1)

8. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 3,585 (-3)

9. John Isner (USA) 3,485

10. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 3,160

11. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,095

12. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,845 (+1)

13. Borna Coric (CRO) 2,345 (-1)

14. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,275

15. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2,230

16. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 2,021

17. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 1,885

18. Gael Monfils (FRA) 1,875 (+1)

19. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 1,865 (-1)

20. David Goffin (BEL) 1,685 (+1)

AFP

Thiem Keeps ATP Finals Hopes Alive With Nishikori Win

Austria’s Dominic Thiem returns against Japan’s Kei Nishikori during their men’s singles round-robin match on day five of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 15, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Dominic Thiem kept his ATP Finals alive on Thursday, beating Kei Nishikori in straight sets and pinning his hopes on a comprehensive win for Kevin Anderson over Roger Federer.

Thiem, who came into his final round-robin match at London’s O2 Arena with two defeats — against Anderson and Federer, beat Nishikori 6-1, 6-4 in the afternoon session.

The Austrian sixth seed broke his Japanese rival, who shocked Federer in his opening match, twice in the first set and a single break was enough for him to take the second set and seal the match.

Nishikori won just 56 percent of points on his serve throughout the match, in the Lleyton Hewitt group, and hit a total of 41 unforced errors, compared to 21 for Thiem.

Second seed Federer, looking to reach the semi-finals for the 15th time in 16 ATP Finals appearances, is 4-1 ahead in his head-to-head record against South Africa’s Anderson but he lost to him in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in a five-set classic.

Top seed Djokovic is already through to the semi-finals after beating Alexander Zverev in the Guga Kuerten group, with Zverev, Marin Cilic and John Isner battling for the other semi-final berth.

AFP