A year ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas was the champion at the ATP Next Gen Finals. He carried that momentum into 2019 by upsetting Roger Federer at the Australian Open and advancing to the semifinals. By May, he had already won two 250-level titles this year. However, a heartbreaking loss to Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros, in a match that lasted over five hours, sidetracked his season. He would not win another match at a Major the rest of this year. But Stefanos has emotionally recovered and is now 15-5 in his last 20 matches, and hasn’t lost to a player outside the top five in his last five events. As per Greg Sharko, he’s now the youngest player in the championship match of the ATP Finals since Jim Courier 28 years ago.
Prior to last season, Dominic Thiem had a career losing record in the fall months on hard courts. He would peak during the clay season, and struggle to win matches after the US Open. But since last year, he’s won four hard court titles, three of which were during September or October. And earlier this year, with new coach Nicolas Massu joining his team, he prevailed at the Masters 1,000 hard court event in Indian Wells. This is his fourth appearance at the ATP Finals, though he’d never advanced out of round robin play before this year. But he defeated both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic earlier this week, and has already secured a career-high year-end ranking of No.4 in the world regardless of today’s result.
Dominic Thiem (5) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)
This is a rare occasion where no member of “The Big Three” are present in a championship final at a Major or the ATP Finals. As Tennis Channel highlighted, in the 50 such tournaments over the past decade, this is only the fourth final that does not include Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic.
This will be the seventh meeting between Thiem and Tsitsipas, all of which have taken place over the last two seasons. Dominic owns a 4-2 record, and is 3-1 on hard courts. Stefanos’ only hard court victory came at the 2018 Rogers Cup, while Thiem claimed their last matchup in the final of Beijing last month. These two have clearly been the best players over the last week, as they both topped their round robin groups. They’ve both played aggressive tennis, saved some crucial break points, and overcome physical ailments. Tsitsipas had an injection in his foot earlier this week, while Thiem has been battling cold symptoms over the last few days.
If he’s feeling close to 100%, Dominic should be the fresher of the two players. He had a day off before the semifinals while Stefanos did not, and Tsitsipas had a near three-hour battle with Nadal on Friday. But it feels as if Thiem may have peaked earlier this week. And it’s worth noting he was gifted a few costly errors at critical times by Sascha Zverev yesterday. Meanwhile Tsitsipas showed just how much confidence he’s currently playing with in saving 11 of 12 break points yesterday against Federer.
In what should be a tight battle, I favor Tsitsipas to rely on his grit and become the new champion.
|Outdoor Hard||F||Dominic Thiem||
36 64 61
|2018||ATP Masters 1000 Canada
|Outdoor Hard||R32||Stefanos Tsitsipas||
|Outdoor Clay||R64||Dominic Thiem||
62 26 64 64
|Outdoor Clay||QF||Stefanos Tsitsipas||
|2018||ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells
|Outdoor Hard||R64||Dominic Thiem||
62 36 63
|Outdoor Hard||QF||Dominic Thiem||
Other Notable Matches on Day 8:
In the men’s doubles championship match, it’s Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus (5), who saved match points in yesterday’s semifinal against the top seeds, vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (7), who were finalists here a year ago and have not dropped a set on their current eight-match win streak.
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.
Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.
Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.
Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.
Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.
Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.
Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.
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