Tennis: Andrey Rublev signs off from ATP Finals with win over Dominic Thiem

LONDON (REUTERS) – Russian youngster Andrey Rublev signed off from his maiden ATP Finals in style by beating Dominic Thiem 6-2 7-5 on Thursday (Nov 19).

The aggressive 23-year-old took full advantage of a rather flat performance by Thiem who had already sealed his place in the semi-finals with two wins in the London Group.

Defeats by Rafa Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas meant Rublev could not advance but the US$153,000 and 200 ranking points for a group stage proved a sizeable carrot.

But for a double fault when he had a match point against Tsitsipas on Tuesday, Rublev could now be looking at a place in the semi-finals. Instead he will leave London full of belief after a superb 2020 in which he won a season-leading five titles.

“I was so close in my second match. I had match point and I was serving, so it could have been a completely different story if I won two matches,” Rublev said on court.

“I would maybe still have a chance to be in the semi-finals. But it’s part of life.”

The world number eight, playing again in a drab-looking olive green tee-shirt, put the hammer down from the start and broke the Thiem serve twice for a 4-0 lead.

Rublev, who delivers his forehand with brutish force, grabbed an early break in the second set but faltered at 4-3 when a netted forehand allowed Thiem to level.

But Rublev broke the Austrian world number three again at 5-5 with a yet another forehand winner and finished the job a game later to record a third straight win over Thiem.

US Open champion Thiem, runner-up to Tsitsipas in last year’s final here in London, now has a day off to shrug off the defeat and prepare for Saturday’s semi-final when he will face either world number one Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev.

“It was difficult to keep the intensity like I had in the first two matches,” Thiem, who produced a masterful display to beat Nadal on Tuesday, told reporters.

“When I’m not at 110 per cent at this tournament there is no chance against any player, that’s what happened today.”

Later on Thursday Nadal faces a crunch match against Tsitsipas with the winner joining Thiem in the semi-finals.

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