Roger Federer blamed "first-round hiccups" for the loss to Dominic Thiem that leaves him at risk of an early exit from the ATP Finals.

Austrian Thiem completed a hat-trick of wins over the 20-time grand slam champion in 2019 with a 7-5 7-5 victory on the opening day in London.

Federer now faces a tough task to advance from Group Bjorn Borg, which also contains Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini.

The 38-year-old committed 30 unenforced errors and won 11 of 22 points on his second serve in an uneven showing at the O2 Arena on Sunday.

"I thought he played well. The start definitely didn't help. That put me on the back foot a little bit," Federer said.

"But I recovered well and I thought the match was pretty even for a long period of time. I felt I had my chances. Didn't feel like I was outplayed or anything.

"Just maybe those 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 in the tournament."

Federer won the last of his six ATP Finals titles in 2011 and will have to be at his best to stay in contention for a seventh.

"It's a normal tournament from here on forward. I'm not allowed to lose anymore," the Swiss star said.

"That's how it is every week of the year for the past 20 years, so from that standpoint there is nothing new."

Both players are back in action on Tuesday as Federer faces tournament debutant Berrettini, who was no match for a dominant Djokovic.

The manner of the Serbian's 6-2 6-1 triumph and the tight schedule gives Thiem little time to savour his fifth career win over "probably the best player of all time".

"The system is pretty brutal, I would say, because I had an amazing victory," he said.

"I'm feeling great. I'm feeling now that I have a good chance to reach the semis, but if I lose on Tuesday, for example, everything is completely open again and I [would] have to worry about everything on the next match on Thursday.

"The only thing I can do is rest well [on Monday], practice well, and be fully focused again on Tuesday."

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.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will meet in the group stage of the ATP Finals after being drawn together on Tuesday.

The pair have won 36 grand slams between them and triumphed at the season-ending tournament a collective 11 times, with Federer leading that head-to-head tally by one.

Joining the Swiss maestro and Djokovic in Bjorn Borg Group will be Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini.

Andre Agassi Group consists of world number one Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and reigning champion Alexander Zverev.

Nadal had been a doubt for the event after withdrawing ahead of the Paris Masters semi-final with an abdominal injury. 

The year-end number-one spot is up for grabs in London, with Nadal in the driving seat but Djokovic – the winner in Paris – ready to pounce.

Nadal has never won the ATP Finals, while Djokovic's last victory came in 2015 and Federer has endured an eight-year drought. 

Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Berrettini will each compete in the tournament for the first time, with the action scheduled to start on Sunday. 

Dominic Thiem rallied from a set down to beat Diego Schwartzman and claim a maiden Vienna Open title in his homeland on Sunday.

Schwartzman threatened to rip up the script at the Wiener Stadthalle, but top-seeded Austrian Thiem stormed back to win 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Thiem, who had failed to reach the final in his previous nine appearances in the tournament, recovered from a tentative start to stamp his authority on an entertaining match and claim an ATP Tour-leading fifth title of the season.

The world number five struggled with his serve in the first set and Schwartzman capitalised, but the favourite turned the tide to win a 16th title of his career with the backing of a partisan crowd.

Thiem failed to hold in the opening game of the match, but Argentinian Schwartzman was then broken to love in his first service game.

Schwartzman gained the initiative again by breaking for a 3-2 lead and took the set in emphatic fashion, with a break to love of his own.

Thiem took that in his stride and applied pressure early in the second set without immediate reward as the two continued to serve up high-quality rallies, trading punches from the baseline and mixing it up with deft drop shots.

The two-time French Open runner-up pumped his fist after fifth seed Schwartzman netted a forehand to go a break down at 5-4, and Thiem grasped the opportunity to serve out the set.

Thiem had the momentum and charged into a 2-0 lead in the decider, another errant Schwartzman forehand giving him the break in the opening game.

Schwartzman continued to put up a fight but could not force a break of his own and Thiem dropped to the deck in celebration after running in to put away a forehand winner and seal the title.

Dominic Thiem reached his third ATP Tour final in as many months with a battling victory over Matteo Berrettini at the Vienna Open.

Home hope Thiem, a recent winner at the Generali Open and China Open, avenged his Shanghai Masters loss to Berrettini by coming from behind to triumph 3-6 7-5 6-3 in two hours and 33 minutes.

Thiem, the top seed, will meet Diego Schwartzman in Sunday's final at the ATP 500 event, having made it to the showpiece match at this tournament for the first time in his 10th attempt.

After benefiting from Pablo Carreno Busta's retirement on Friday, the Austrian's task was not as straightforward in his semi-final against the third-seeded Italian, who had beaten him in the last eight in Shanghai a fortnight ago.

He dropped the first set after an energetic Berrettini broke three times.

But Berrettini's 28-match run of winning matches after claiming the first set came to an end amid a superb atmosphere.

After the pair exchanged breaks, Thiem made the decisive breakthrough to move 6-5 up in the second set before holding comfortably, levelling the match with a forehand up the line.

Thiem had won 10 of his previous 12 deciding sets this season and stretched that to a Tour-leading mark of 11 by breaking twice to race away with the third set, sealing victory with a backhand winner down the line on his second match point.

Despite Saturday's loss, Berrettini will reach the top 10 of the world rankings on Monday after his exploits this week and has boosted his hopes of joining Thiem in qualifying for the ATP Finals.

The second semi-final contained two players also hoping to reach London, as Schwartzman claimed a comfortable victory over Gael Monfils.

Argentine Schwartzman broke twice in each set to win 6-3 6-2 in 75 minutes, securing the win and a third final appearance of 2019 when Monfils fired a backhand long on his first match point.

Matteo Berrettini gave his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals a huge shot in the arm, while Dominic Thiem benefitted from Pablo Carreno Busta's withdrawal at the Vienna Open.

Italian Berrettini ended Andrey Rublev's seven-match winning streak with a hard-earned 7-5 7-6 (7-4) triumph in Austria to book a semi-final berth.

Berrettini, who will break into the world's top 10 on Monday, is eighth in the race for a place at the end-of-season tournament in London and is 130 points clear of Roberto Bautista Agut – a last-eight loser to Reilly Opelka in Basle.

Austrian home favourite Thiem, aiming to win this tournament for the first time, will be next up for Berrettini in the last four.

World number five Thiem was leading 5-0 against Carreno Busta when the Spaniard was forced to retire.

Diego Schwartzman still has an outside chance of reaching London himself and recovered from falling 3-0 behind in the first set to defeat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (8-6) 6-2.

The Argentinian plays Gael Monfils for a spot in the final after the Frenchman earned a convincing 7-5 6-1 triumph over Aljaz Bedene. 

Monfils moves into the top 10 in the race to London, as the battle for places in the English capital heats up.

Dominic Thiem ended his Fernando Verdasco hoodoo to reach the quarter-finals of the Vienna Open in his homeland.

Top seed Thiem had lost all four matches against the experienced Spaniard before coming from behind to secure a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory on Thursday.

The world number five will face Pablo Carreno Busta in his 11th last-eight encounter of another impressive season after recovering from a poor start.

Verdasco charged into a 3-0 lead and did not face a break point in the first set, but Thiem won 97 per cent of points on serve in the second as he forced a decider.

Thiem dominated the final set, Verdasco winning just one point on the Austrian's serve to bow out in the second round.

Andrey Rublev's hopes of winning back-to-back titles are still alive after the Russian beat Hyeon Chung 6-4 6-2.

Rublev, winner of the Kremlin Cup on home soil last weekend, will take on Matteo Berrettini, while fourth seed Gael Monfils defeated teenage wildcard Jannik Sinner 6-3 7-6 (10-8).

Diego Schwartzman accounted for Sam Querrey with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory and Pablo Carreno Busta needed three sets to get past Mikhail Kukushkin, with Aljaz Bedene also advancing at the expense of Gilles Simon.

Alexander Zverev suffered a huge shock in the first round of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Tuesday as he succumbed to a straight-sets defeat to Taylor Fritz.

Zverev had been in tremendous form since a disappointing fourth-round exit at the US Open, reaching the semi-finals of the China Open and the final of the Shanghai Masters.

However, the second seed fell back down to earth in Switzerland as Fritz claimed his fourth top-10 win of the year.

The American fired down 37 winners in a 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 triumph that marked the biggest of his career by ranking.

"I played really solid, so it feels good to get that [win] instead of him getting me for the third time in a row," Fritz said. "I got out there today and the sliders [on my serve] were working well."

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who ended Zverev's China Open run, had no issues as he saw off Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

The Greek remains on course for a potential semi-final with Roger Federer, whose next obstacle in his bid for a 10th title in his hometown will be Radu Albot, who overcame Dusan Lajovic in three sets.

Roberto Bautista Agut and Fabio Fognini earned straight-sets wins over Marius Copil and Alexei Popyrin respectively, while Richard Gasquet defeated Juan Ignacio Londero and Reilly Opelka beat Cristian Garin.

At the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, top seed Dominic Thiem started his quest for a second title in his home country this year with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

There were shocks in the Austrian capital as seventh seed Guido Pella went down 6-4 6-4 to Aljaz Bedene while Milos Raonic was beaten by Chung Hyeon 6-4 7-5.

Aside from his appearance at the Laver Cup, Tuesday marked Raonic's first match since retiring from the Rogers Cup with a back injury, and the former Wimbledon finalist saw a second-set comeback fall short.

Eighteen-year-old Jannik Sinner, fresh from his run to the European Open semi-finals, continued his fine form by overcoming Philipp Kohlschreiber. Gilles Simon defeated Feliciano Lopez in straight sets and Fernando Verdasco won a three-set tussle with Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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