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December 4, 2020

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Thiem through to SFs as Stefanos Tsitsipas sets Rafael Nadal shootout

3 min read

Tsitsipas set up a shootout with Nadal (Picture: Getty)

Dominic Thiem is through to semi-finals of the ATP Finals, with Stefanos Tsitsipas set for a shootout for Rafael Nadal to reach the last-four.

Thiem, the world No. 3 from Austria, had earlier downed Nadal in a dramatic 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) win and needed Tsitsipas to beat Andrey Rublev to assure his passage to the next round.

Last year’s champion Tsitsipas, 22, duly delivered, but it was less straightforward than the first 20 minutes of the match would have suggested.

The opener lasted just 19 minutes, with Tsitsipas making just three unforced errors as he put the Russian to the sword.

Rublev, who had lost in straight sets to Nadal in his first match, dragged his first serve percentage from 40% in the first set to 67% in the second to make a real fist of it.

With a late break, he forced a decider but ultimately Tsitsipas prevailed in a tiebreak – Rublev double faulted on match point – and clinched a 6-1 4-6 7-6 (8-6) victory in an hour and 55 minutes.

‘It was an unbelievable match from both sides and we produced some incredible tennis,’ said Tsitsipas.

Thiem beat Nadal on Tuesday afternoon (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘I mean, the relief at the very end, putting all that effort and all that fight in the court paid off. And I’m very happy that I showed determination and willingness to not give up when he had match point.

‘It kind of came easier when he was up 6-5 but then I produced some really good tennis and that helped me take the win.

‘Again, really high quality tennis from both of us and I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fights in the future against one another.’

Nadal will now take on the Greek in what is essentially a quarter-final, with the winner moving into the final four.

Nadal is yet to win the ATP Finals and only two of his 86 titles have come indoors.

Still, the world No. 2 from Spain feels he has little to prove.

‘I think even if I never won here, I really, I don’t want to pretend to be arrogant at all, no? Because I am not,’ said Nadal.

‘But I really don’t need to show even to myself or to no one that if I am playing my best tennis I think I can win in every surface and against any player, no?

Rublev was beaten (Picture: TPN/Getty Images)

‘It’s true, but I never won in the World Tour Finals. That’s the real thing at the same time. So no problem about that. I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances.

‘Today have been a match that I played at very high level, and my goal is just to keep going, no?

‘I have a match against Tsitsipas in two days. Gonna be another tough one. But I hope to be ready, no? I think playing like this I am confident that I can have my chances in the tournament.’

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