ATP

Classy Thiem beats Federer on opening night in London

By Sports Desk November 10, 2019

Dominic Thiem continued his dominance of Roger Federer this year with a straight-sets victory on the opening day of the ATP Finals.

Thiem had beaten the 20-time grand slam champion twice this season and completed the hat-trick with a 7-5 7-5 victory at the O2 Arena on Sunday.

The fifth-seeded Thiem has not reached the semi-finals in his three previous appearances in London, but made a confident start after Novak Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini in the opening Group Bjorn Borg match.

Thiem served and returned superbly, improving his record against Federer to five victories and two defeats as he bids to end a fruitful 2019 by claiming a sixth title of the year.

Federer dominated the robin-round encounter between the two in this tournament last year, but was a break down after firing a forehand into the tramlines in the opening game.

The Austrian was pegged back at 2-2 when Federer forced an error with a ferocious backhand, yet the six-time champion was unable to cut out the errors and trailed 6-5 after Thiem pounced on his second serve.

Thiem served out the set with great composure and both players had a packed crowd purring as they showed their athleticism with classy winners at the net early in the second.

Federer fizzed a majestic backhand winner down the line and saved a break point before levelling at 2-2, while Thiem continued to pepper his veteran opponent with powerful, accurate ground strokes.

Thiem drew gasps with a scorching one-handed backhand winner and broke to love to lead 6-5 when Federer netted after a blistering return was arrowed at his feet.

Federer went down with a fight, but the third seed was beaten when he dumped a backhand into the net after seeing two points to get back on serve come and go.

Related items

  • Martic bows out in Prague but Mertens progresses Martic bows out in Prague but Mertens progresses

    Second seed Petra Martic was eliminated from the Prague Open in a straight-sets defeat to Kristyna Pliskova, but Elise Mertens booked her place in the quarter-finals.

    World number 69 Pliskova struck 28 winners to 13 unforced errors on home soil as she secured a 6-1 7-5 victory in one hour and 22 minutes.

    The Czech wrapped up the opening set in just 21 minutes and Martic paid the price for passing up two opportunities to hold serve at 5-5 in the second.

    Pliskova, a runner-up in Prague in 2017, made Martic pay by serving out the match and setting up a meeting with Ana Bogdan, who got a walkover after Lesia Tsurenko withdrew prior to their match.

    Mertens ensured Simona Halep is not the only seed remaining in the draw by defeating Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2, while, in matches held over from Tuesday, Laura Siegemund and Tamara Zidansek wasted little time in wrapping up three-set victories over Mayar Sherif and Katerina Siniakova respectively.

    It was not a day off for Halep, though. The Romanian joined forces with Barbora Strycova for a doubles match against Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova that ended in a 6-3 3-6 10-8 loss.

  • Serena to face Venus as Stephens' struggles continue Serena to face Venus as Stephens' struggles continue

    Serena Williams will face sister Venus in the Top Seed Open second round after contrasting wins on Tuesday.

    In action for the first time since the WTA Tour season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Serena edged past Bernarda Pera.

    The top seed at the WTA International event, Serena recorded a 4-6 6-4 6-1 victory after being five points from defeat.

    The 23-time grand slam champion raced through the final set, losing just seven points on serve to advance in Lexington.

    Awaiting Serena in the second round is Venus, who was too good for Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-2.

    The sisters will meet for the 31st time, with Serena holding an 18-12 win-loss record over Venus.

    Sloane Stephens had endured a tough start to 2020 before the season was suspended, and the 2017 US Open champion suffered another loss.

    The seventh seed was well beaten by qualifier Leylah Fernandez 6-3 6-3 to slip to a 1-6 win-loss record this year.

    The only other seed in action was Yulia Putintseva, who brushed past Ajla Tomljanovic 6-0 6-4.

    Coco Gauff, 16, was pushed in her opener, overcoming Caroline Dolehide 7-5 7-5.

    CiCi Bellis, Shelby Rogers, Jil Teichmann, Anna Blinkova and Olga Govortsova also advanced.

  • Serena Williams makes winning return in three-set battle with Pera Serena Williams makes winning return in three-set battle with Pera

    Serena Williams needed three sets to defeat Bernarda Pera at the Top Seed Open on Tuesday in her first match since February.

    The 23-time grand slam singles champion came from a set down to beat her compatriot 4-6 6-4 6-1 in two hours and 16 minutes in Lexington.

    Williams' previous match was in the Fed Cup clash with Latvia in February, while she has not played a tournament match since January's Australian Open, the WTA Tour having been shut down since early match due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    World number 60 Pera broke in the fifth game and fought off two break points on her own serve before a thumping winner sealed the first set.

    Williams saw a 3-1 lead pegged back in the second and saved four break points to deny Pera the chance to serve for the match, but the 38-year-old found some of her famous fighting spirit to level the match after forcing a Pera error.

    She then made comparatively light work of the decider to set up a second-round clash with either Victoria Azarenka or sister Venus Williams.

    "I've been practicing really well and I wasn't getting a good rhythm out here, and I just kept thinking, 'Serena, play like you've been practicing'," she said afterwards.

    "I knew I could play a little bit better if I just hung in there.

    "I feel like I always play Venus first or second round, every tournament, so that's annoying. And I always play Vika early, so we'll see."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.