- Regardless of outcome, there will be a new Nitto ATP Finals champion for the third straight year
- Daniil Medvedev comes in on a nine-match winning streak
- Again, the Russian is the counterintuitive favorite against Dominic Thiem. We break down the matchup.
If Daniil Medvedev can beat Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s Nitto ATP Finals (6 p.m. EST), that will mean he went through No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and then No. 3 Thiem in the same tournament.
He was the second-favorite going into the tournament. And he made good on that.
Dominic Thiem vs Daniil Medvedev Odds
| Dominic Thiem (AUT)||+1.5 (-122)||+108||O 23.5 (-108)|
| Daniil Medvedev (RUS)||-1.5 (-104)||-134||U 23.5 (-117)|
Odds taken Nov 21 at DraftKings
Both Finalists Upset No. 1 and No. 2
Even if Medvedev has had a relatively better week than Thiem at the O2, the one thing the two have in common is that both toppled the world No. 1 and No. 2.
Djokovic’s two losses matched the total number of completed matches he had lost all season.
Dominic Thiem v Daniil Medvedev Head-to-Head
|27 (Sept. 3, 1993)||Age||24 (Feb. 11, 1996)|
|Wiener Neustadt, Austria||Birthplace||Moscow, Russia|
|17||Career ATP Singles Titles||8|
|No. 3 (March 2, 2020)||Career High Ranking||No. 4 (Sept. 9, 2019)|
|No. 3||Current Ranking||No. 4|
|25-8||2020 W/L Record (Including ATP Finals)||26-10|
|$27,302,125||Career Prize Money||$12,566,584|
Nervous Thiem Gets Through
Thiem thought, after he got over the hump and won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, that the big-match jitters would be a thing of the past.
He was wrong. But he still got through Djokovic Saturday in a marathon match that looked like their dramatic clash in London a year ago.
Last year, Thiem won 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5) in two hours, 47 minutes – 110 points to 108.
Saturday, he defeated Djokovic 7-5, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5). It took two hours, 54 minutes. Thiem won 119 points to 115 for Djokovic.
Thiem turned the tide on that at the very end, winning seven of the last eight points.
“What he did from 0-4 in the third-set tiebreaker was just unreal. I mean, I don’t think I played bad. … He just crushed the ball. Everything went in from both corners,” Djokovic said. “I mean, what can you do? He just took it away from me.”
It was the 300th ATP Tour-level win for Thiem. And he becomes just the second-ever player to post five career wins against Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer.
'I thought after New York, I would be a little bit more calm – but that was a mistake!'@ThiemDomi takes us through his emotions during that epic with Djokovic!#NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/SKUSdxtRae
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 21, 2020
Medvedev on a Winning Streak
The 24-year-old Russian won five matches to take the Paris Masters. So far in London, he is undefeated at 4-0 and has lost just one set.
A year ago, Medvedev lost all three of his round-robin matches.
👊🙏💪 tomorrow the final… pic.twitter.com/GznMPYR92e
— Daniil Medvedev (@DaniilMedwed) November 21, 2020
On Wednesday, he pipped Djokovic in straight sets. On Saturday, he survived Nadal for the first time in his career.
Thiem vs Medvedev – ATP Finals Stats
|Player||Won-Loss||Sets W/L & %||Games W/L & %|
| Dominic Thiem (AUS)||3-1 (1st in Group)||6-5 (54.54%)||58-58 (50%)|
| Daniil Medvedev||4-0 (1st in Group)||8-1 (88.88%)||52-34 (60.47%)|
Nadal Served for the Match v Medvedev
Nadal was up 6-3, 5-4 and served for the match against Medvedev Saturday.
He was broken at love.
And by the waning moments of the third set, he almost appeared to be close to cramping. Medvedev had broken him down physically.
That doesn’t happen often.
Nadal spent significant time trying to blunt Medvedev’s offence by using (perhaps overusing) his slice.
Medvedev prefers a high ball; his grip on the backhand means he has more trouble with the lower one.
In the process, Nadal sacrificed the offence a little.
But in the end, Medvedev struck 42 winners.
Dominic Thiem v Daniil Medvedev – Previous Meetings
|2020||US Open||SF||6-2, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5)||Thiem|
|2019||Rogers Cup||QF||6-3, 6-1||Medvedev|
|2018||St. Petersburg||QF||6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (2)||Thiem|
Thiem’s game plan?
The slice is an increasingly important part of Thiem’s arsenal as well. But he sacrifices less offence to incorporate it in his game..
“I love to use the slice, and I mean, on all surfaces actually. But here the bounce is pretty low. It’s a fast surface, so it’s a great, great option, especially to get from a defensive position into a neutral position again,” Thiem said Saturday.
A Little More Rest for Thiem
Medvedev’s match against Nadal ended just before 11 p.m. Saturday. Thiem, who popped in to watch the night match, wrapped up around 5 p.m.
He’ll have a little extra rest before the 6 p.m. start.
Thiem has the game to beat Medvedev in what isn’t an upset by rankings, but an upset on the odds.
The only time Medvedev has ever beaten the Austrian came right as Medvedev started a two-month streak of all-world tennis last year.
He’s playing extremely well this week. But not as well as that.
Still, it’s a tough call.
Best Bet: Thiem in three sets (+350)
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