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  • Thiem Returns To Career-High, Mover Of The Week

    No. 4 (Career-High) Dominic Thiem, +1
    In his first three appearances at the Nitto ATP Finals, Dominic Thiem won just one match apiece, and was unable to advance to the semi-finals. But the Austrian star got off to a fast start this year, defeating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches, before defeating defending champion Alexander Zverev in straight sets to make his first championship match at the season finale. The 26-year-old, who also won his first ATP Masters 1000 title this year at the BNP Paribas Open, will finish the season at a career-high year-end World No. 4.

    No. 78 (Career-High) Jannik Sinner, +18

    The day after the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals, a 17-year-old Jannik Sinner was No. 762 in the ATP Rankings. One year later, the Italian teen is up to a career-high World No. 78. Sinner won his third ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday — also his third of the season — in Ortisei to become the second-youngest player to capture three Challenger trophies in a season. The only player who accomplished the feat at a younger age than the Next Gen ATP Finals champion is Richard Gasquet, who did it at 17.

    No. 95 Ivo Karlovic, +11

    Ivo Karlovic reached the final at the Houston ATP Challenger Tour event to climb 11 spots, propelling him into the Top 100, where he is projected to finish the season. This will be the 16th time in 17 years that the Croat has completed a year inside the Top 100. Karlovic finished year-end No. 101 in 2018, which means he was one spot away from accomplishing the feat for 17 consecutive seasons. Karlovic, now 40, first did it when he was 24.

    Other Notable Movers

    No. 68 Tennys Sandgren, +2

    No. 87 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, +2
    No. 93 Damir Dzumhur, +4

    No. 100 James Duckworth, +11



  • Duckworth, Giron & Ruusuvuori Highlight Dramatic Challenger Sunday

    A LOOK BACK
    KPIT Challenger (Pune, India): Quick, name the player with the most match wins and titles this year. No one enjoyed more success on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2019 than James Duckworth. One year after Jordan Thompson led the tour in victories and trophies, it was his countryman who achieved the feat to conclude the season.

    Duckworth rallied from a set down on Sunday to earn his 49th match win and fourth title of the year, overcoming Jay Clarke 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in Pune. After undergoing a litany of surgeries in recent years, the Aussie is finally back inside the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time since 2017. The win, which puts him at No. 100, also gives him direct entry into the 2020 Australian Open.

    "I'm thrilled to win the event," said Duckworth. "It has been a lot of hard work for me. I have been out of tennis since the latter part of 2017 and have gone through five major operations. This is for my family who have supported me. I'm glad to get back to the Top 100 as it guarantees entry into bigger events."

    One of the best championship points of 2019. Electric scenes in Pune!@JamesDuck21 takes the title at the @KPITChallenger, streaking to his fourth #ATPChallenger πŸ† of the year. pic.twitter.com/2qPseF2aqk

    — ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) November 17, 2019

    Oracle Challenger Series - Houston (Houston, Texas, USA): Marcos Giron turned in one of the biggest comebacks of the season, capturing the title in Houston on Sunday. The California native saved six match points, rallying from 1/6 down in a deciding tie-break to overcome Ivo Karlovic 7-5, 6-7(5), 7-6(9).

    Facing that big of a deficit against the Croatian's mammoth serve is a daunting prospect for any player. But Giron was up to the test, scoring a pair of mini-breaks against the net-charging Karlovic, before eventually crossing the finish line after two hours and two minutes.

    The 26-year-old concluded his campaign exactly how it started, having opened the 2019 season with a maiden title in Orlando. He will finish just shy of the Top 100, jumping 21 spots to No. 102 in the ATP Rankings.

    Meanwhile, Karlovic became the first player aged 40 & older to reach a Challenger final, ensuring his 17th consecutive year-end Top 100 finish.

    Giron

    Tali Open (Helsinki, Finland): There is no better feeling than winning a title in your hometown, with your family and friends in attendance and the fans chanting your name. Emil Ruusuvuori earned a fitting conclusion to his breakthrough season with yet another victory, this time in his home capital of Helsinki.

    The ATP Challenger Tour returned to the Finnish capital for the first time since 2003, as the Tali Open celebrated its inaugural edition this week. And its native son would christen the tournament in thrilling fashion. The 20-year-old Ruusuvuori notched his fourth title of the year, defeating Mohamed Safwat 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 on the fast hard courts of the Tali Tennis Center.

    "It was a very tough match. It was amazing to win the tournament which was organized by my own tennis club HVS-Tennis," said Ruusuvuori. "In my home tennis center in front of the home audience. My whole family, parents, sister and brother were here every day and also a lot of friends."

    In front of a packed crowd, Finland's No. 1 gave the home faithful a glimpse into the future of tennis in their country. He has quietly put together one of the breakout campaigns of the year on the Challenger circuit, joining Duckworth, Ricardas Berankis and Mikael Ymer as the only players with four trophies. Considering he was outside the Top 400 and playing on the Futures circuit in early June, it has been a remarkable rise for the budding #NextGenATP star.

    At the age of 20 years and seven months, Ruusuvuori is the youngest to win four titles in a season since Hyeon Chung in 2015. He rises to a career-high No. 125 in the ATP Rankings.

    Ruusuvuori

    Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena (Ortisei, Italy): Jannik Sinner followed his Next Gen ATP Finals title with a victory at the Challenger event in nearby Ortisei. The youngest player in the Top 100 dominated from first ball, not dropping a set en route to the title on home soil.

    More on Sinner's historic third title of the year...

    JSM Challenger of Champaign-Urbana (Champaign, Illinois, USA): J.J. Wolf became the third #NextGenATP champion of the day with his thrilling win in Champaign. The former Ohio State University standout saved a match point to defeat Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-6(6) in two hours and 30 minutes.

    After winning his maiden title on his home college campus of Columbus in January, the 20-year-old Wolf caps his campaign with a second crown. It marks the fifth straight season in which an American aged 20 & under has won multiple titles. He joins Michael Mmoh (2018), Frances Tiafoe (2016 & '17), Ernesto Escobedo (2016) and Taylor Fritz (2015).

    Wolf cracks the Top 200 for the first time, soaring to a career-high No. 189 in the ATP Rankings.

    Wolf

    A LOOK AHEAD
    One tournament remains in 2019. The inaugural event in Maia, Portugal welcomes players and fans to the Complexo Municipal de Tenis da Maia. Andrej Martin is the top seed and is joined by Italians Thomas Fabbiano, Paolo Lorenzi and Gianluca Mager as the leading men on the indoor clay.

    ATP Challenger Tour 



  • Sinner's Encore: Jannik Soars To Ortisei Crown

    One week ago, the tennis world was introduced to Jannik Sinner. The 18-year-old Italian sprinted to the title at the Next Gen ATP Finals, celebrating his biggest victory in front of a global audience.

    On Sunday, the youngest player in the Top 100 concluded his breakthrough season with yet another crowning achievement. Sinner dominated from first ball to last at the ATP Challenger Tour event in nearby Ortisei, not dropping a set en route to the title on home soil.

    Watch Final Highlights

    Sinner claimed a slice of history with his latest triumph, becoming the second-youngest player to lift three Challenger trophies in a single season. Only Richard Gasquet was younger when he achieved the feat in 2003.

    "It feels great," said Sinner. "It's been a long week. It's not easy to play here at home and I was a little nervous actually. I handled it really well so I'm very happy. Of course the confidence is higher [after winning Milan]. I played well there and for that reason I felt more under pressure here."

    Sinner

    The city of Ortisei witnessed unprecedented snowfall during the tournament, with mounds of powder piling up around the tennis club. An avid skier, Sinner felt right at home, turning in a ruthless display to dispatch Sebastian Ofner 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday.

    In fact, the 18-year-old, who was born and raised in northern Italy, has enjoyed some of his greatest success in the region this year. Sitting outside the Top 500 in February, he notched his first Challenger title in Bergamo, before concluding his campaign with the victories in Milan and Ortisei. He is up to a career-high No. 78, marking the biggest jump to the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings this year.

    Sinner

    "It's been a long year with many matches and I'm happy that I have a little bit of time off. I'm looking forward to practising well for the next season."

    Sinner's ascent via the ATP Challenger Tour has been nothing short of stunning. His title in Bergamo (as an unseeded wild card) came in just his fourth appearance on the circuit. He would take advantage of his opportunities, reaching the title match in Ostrava, before lifting another trophy in Lexington. From playing Futures tournaments to open the year to graduating to the ATP Tour to conclude the season, Sinner is ready for the big show as the calendar flips to 2020.

    ATP Challenger Tour 



  • Brain Game: Brick-Wall Backhand Steers Stefanos To Title

    Imagine playing more than a set of tennis in the biggest match of your life and not missing a single backhand groundstroke.

    Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Dominic Thiem 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4) to win the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday, with his swashbuckling one-handed backhand providing the rock he needed to lean on after losing the opening set.

    In the first set, Tsitsipas hit 34 backhand groundstrokes (excluding returns and volleys), collecting one winner, while making eight errors. At 6/6 in the first-set tie-break, Tsitsipas miss-hit a backhand long to gift Thiem a set point. This innocuous backhand error would prove to be a pivotal moment in the final. The match was 65 minutes old, and Tsitsipas would incredibly not miss a backhand groundstroke for the next 35 minutes, until 0-0, 30/40 in the third set.

    View Infosys ATP Scores & Stats Match Center

    During that 35-minute period, the Greek made 19 straight backhands while Thiem’s backhand faltered with 11 errors and no winners from 40 shots. Basically, Thiem made a backhand error one out of every four times he hit that stroke, while Tsitsipas simply couldn’t miss the court.

    Fast forward to the end of the match, and it was once again the Tsitsipas backhand that stood tall. He made his last nine backhands in a row, including all seven in the thrilling third-set tie-break. Thiem, on the other hand, hit seven backhand groundstrokes in the third-set tie-break, and crucially missed two of them.

    Backhand Performance: Tsitsipas v Thiem

    All Three Sets Tsitsipas Thiem
    Backhand Groundstroke Winners 2 3
    Backhand Groundstroke Errors 15 26
    Total Backhand Groundstrokes 93 95

    Both players struck exactly 34 backhand groundstrokes in the opening set, with Tsitsipas averaging one error for every 4.3 backhands (8/34), which was superior to Thiem’s average of one backhand error for every 2.8 backhands (12/34). In the second set, Tsitsipas didn’t commit a backhand groundstroke error. Thiem missed five of his 10 backhands.

    Tsitsipas Ad Court First Serves Down The T
    Another key battle that the Greek dominated was first serves in the Ad court. Overall, he lost seven first-serve points in the Deuce court, dropping just three in the Ad court. Tsitsipas’ strategy was to overwhelmingly serve down the T in the Ad court, where he didn’t lose a single point, winning all 16 points he directed there.

    Tsitsipas 1st Serve Direction & Win Percentage

    First Serve Direction First Serve Made First Serve Won Win Percentage
    Deuce Court Wide 20 15 75%
    Deuce Court Body 2 2 100%
    Deuce Court T 12 10 83%
    Ad Court Wide 8 5 63%
    Ad Court Body 1 1 100%
    Ad Court T 16 16 100%

    When you combine Deuce Court and Ad Court, Tsitsipas won a mind-blowing 93 per cent (26/28) of first-serve points going right down the T for the match.

    ATP Infosys Second Screen: Thiem's First Serve vs. Tsitsipas, Ad Court

    Thiem First Serve In Ad Court vs. Tsitsipas

    Thiem served out wide in the Ad court at the highest rate (62%) of any location on both sides of the court combined. By doing so, he went to Tsitsipas' backhand. That did not pay dividends, as he only won 60 per cent of those points (12/20) and did not hit one ace.

    Tsitsipas' serve was on fire, and the backhand simply refused to break. That combination can get you places.



  • Tsitsipas: From Milan To London, The Emotions Of A Dream Come True

    Two years ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas was on the outside looking in on the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, only making Milan as an alternate. Last year, the Greek captured the title at that event. But while he was excited to lift the trophy, he wanted to improve even more.

    “[I want to] refresh and come to enter into 2019 stronger and better, just a better Stefanos than 2018,” Tsitsipas said.

    ‘Better’ understates how the 21-year-old performed this season. Tsitsipas capped off a tremendous 2019 with the biggest title of his career on Sunday, triumphing at the Nitto ATP Finals.

    “I came with a lot of confidence in the [2018] Next Gen ATP Finals knowing I'm one of the best and I can do really well. Left with the trophy. Felt unbelievably excited for the new season because I beat he youngest generation of players. I think that gave me a tremendous amount of boost,” Tsitsipas said. “Fresh blood, they are always fighting more and they are new to the game, so for me that was a great first look of how things work and operate in the Masters circle. It's a great combo, isn't it?”

    Tsitsipas has said on several occasions that he dreamt of competing in the Nitto ATP Finals against the best players in the world. After defeating then-World No.1 Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Shanghai Masters last month, a reporter told the Greek that he had booked his spot at The O2. His reaction was priceless.

    “No way! Really? I didn’t know that!” Tsitsipas said, with a smile as bright as his game.

    “Firstly, I was excited to be part of the Nitto ATP Finals experience. For me, it was already a big thing,” Tsitsipas said after defeating Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s final. “Now that I'm a champion, I don't know how to explain it. I honestly don't feel anything, because it's too many emotions to feel something.

    “I remember myself watching this event on TV and thinking, ‘Oh, these guys have done an insane year to be playing here.’ And now I'm in the position to be champion, so it feels awesome.”

    Stefanos Tsitsipas

    It’s fitting that Tsitsipas’ championship win came against Thiem, with whom he practised at this event three years ago, when he was the junior World No. 1. A photo of the two from after one of their hits that week resurfaced before Sunday’s final.

    “That is unbelievable. I just remembered, yeah. First time I met Dominic was [when] I came here as a sparring partner, was No. 1-ranked in the junior rankings. I got invited by the ITF to come and be a sparring partner here in the Finals,” Tsitsipas said. “I think my first hit was with Dominic. It's unbelievable, isn't it? We [were] now facing each other in the final. It's great. It's fantastic. I met him for the first time. I think that year he didn't do very well, but he kept coming every single year, which is a tremendous amount of respect from me for what he's been achieving all these years.”

    Tsitsipas’ success on big stages has not been a stunner this year. Even before triumphing in Milan last season, he advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto. But he has climbed even higher this season, earning nine wins against Top 10 opposition, including four this week.

    “I feel like my game is getting better over time, and I believe I'm really close on being crowned a Grand Slam champion. I know these are strong words that I say, but I do feel like I belong to be there,” Tsitsipas said. “I'm competing against one of the best players in the world, and the amount of effort and the amount of work I put every day deserves to have an outcome like this.”

    The four-time ATP Tour titlist and year-end World No. 6 will have more eyes on him than ever after his memorable run at The O2. Last year, after winning the Next Gen ATP Finals, he reached his first Grand Slam semi-final just two months later at the Australian Open. There will be high expectations for Tsitsipas in 2020, but the Greek has not succeeded by looking too far ahead.

    “I wish I could predict the future. I cannot predict the future. You think I could predict that I would be in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, first Grand Slam of the year? I was thinking that it might happen later... [it] came completely unexpected for me,” Tsitsipas said. “The thing is, if I put myself in a state of mind that I need to win this Grand Slam now, it doesn't work this way. Rafa said it in the past: I'm not playing to win the tournament, I'm playing to win every single match that I'm about to go and play.

    “So that's how it works. You don't want to travel too much in the future when you play a tournament, because it's not always going to go the way you want it to go.”

    But at this year's Nitto ATP Finals, it couldn't have gone any better.



  • Thiem Foresees 'New & Young Grand Slam Champion Next Year'

    For Dominic Thiem, the title clash at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals could be a preview of what’s in store for next season.

    The Austrian narrowly fell to Tsitsipas in a third-set tie-break, with the Greek completing his transformation from Thiem’s London hitting partner three years ago to his conqueror on Sunday. Both men delivered a gripping match in what has quickly emerged as one of the most compelling rivalries on the ATP Tour.

    Thiem now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-3, with all of their meetings taking place in the past two seasons. Neither player has asserted dominance in the rivalry, giving him confidence that he'll turn the tables in the near future.

    “He played great today. He played great throughout the whole tournament. He's the champion and he deserves it 100 per cent,” Thiem said. “I also think that he's great for tennis because he has a very attractive game style, one-handed backhand, comes in a lot. Very beautiful technique, as well. It's great that he's up on the top and he's going to fight for the big titles in the future.

    “I'm also very sure of the fact that I can challenge him in every single match we're going to play. I really hope that we're going to have a lot of big matches coming [between] the two of us.”

    Head up, Domi ❀️

    You’ve had an unforgettable year πŸ‘#NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/zcKDhslGmy

    — ATP Tour (@atptour) November 17, 2019

    Thiem isn’t ruling out one of those big matches taking place in a Grand Slam final. With Thiem defeating Djokovic on Tuesday and Tsitsipas eliminating Federer in Saturday’s semi-finals, they both proved once again that they can upset the Big Three when they’re playing at their best. Having faced off in last month’s Beijing final and then raised the stakes with a title match at The O2, a championship clash in a Grand Slam would be the next logical step in their rivalry.

    But it’s not just Thiem and Tsitsipas who have emerged as threats to the Big Three. With half of the Top 8 comprised of players ages 26 and under, the Austrian believes it’s only a matter of time before a new Grand Slam champion emerges.

    “I think that for sure we can do it next year,” Thiem said. “We are all playing great tennis. Sascha, Stefanos, me, some other guys. I'm pretty sure that we're going to see a new and young Grand Slam champion next year.”

    Thiem has always excelled on clay, but his success on faster surfaces this year showed that he’ll be a threat anywhere he plays. He’s won 16 of his past 20 hard-court matches, including titles in Beijing (d. Tsitsipas) and on home soil in Vienna (d. Schwartzman). Although he scored his first ATP Masters 1000 title this March on the hard courts of Indian Wells (d. Federer), the Austrian felt his recent run of form is even more telling of his progress.

    ”Since the US Open, I’m super happy [with] how my game developed. Indian Wells, honestly, it’s a very slow hard court. It suits my game because it’s almost like a clay court,” Thiem said. “But here or in Vienna, Beijing, Shanghai, where I played really great tennis, they were surfaces where I was struggling big time in the past.

    ”Especially playing here in the final of [London] is an amazing result for me. Even though it's a big and tough loss today, I still have in my head that I developed my game very good since a few months [ago].”

    His current form isn’t the only thing that has helped him gain confidence. Thiem admitted struggling with illness at the start of the week and doubted if he could play at his best. But after producing four big wins at The O2, he said that discovering his ability to play through pain will remain with him for the rest of his career.

    “I woke up on Tuesday morning feeling like crap and thinking about the worst stuff because I was feeling really sick. And then on Tuesday [night], I played this legendary match against Novak Djokovic and I got way better again with my body,” Thiem said. “That's a big thing I'm taking away. Even in very tough situations, I can still play great tennis. It’s an amazing result for me, indoors, one of the fastest hard courts all year. I'm taking away a lot.”



  • FINAL DAY: Vote For ATPTour.com Fans' Favourite In 2019 ATP Awards

    Welcome to the 2019 ATP Awards, where we recognise outstanding players and tournaments. Cast your vote and show your support for your favourite singles player and doubles team! 

    Voting for the ATPTour.com Fans' Favourite Awards closes at 11:59pm GMT on Monday, 18 November. 

    [AWARD GROUP POLL]191[/AWARD GROUP POLL]

    ** If you have already cast your vote, you have the option to change your selection through the dropdown menu during the voting period, but your last submission will be the only one recorded.

    Note: Fans' Favourite candidates are the Top 100 players in the ATP Rankings and Top 25 teams in the ATP Doubles Race To London as of 9 September 2019. The Top 100 includes players with protected ATP Rankings who have played at least one tour-level match in 2019. Candidates with protected rankings are noted in the list with (PR). 

    6.3.6


  • Tsitsipas Completes Successful Transition, Lands Nitto ATP Finals Crown

    Stefanos Tsitsipas captured the biggest title of his career on Sunday, making the successful transition from 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals champion to the Nitto ATP Finals crown, 12 months on.

    The sixth-seeded Greek defeated fifth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4) over two hours and 35 minutes in the championship match at The O2 in London. At 21 years and three months, Tsitsipas is the youngest Nitto ATP Finals champion since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt (20) in 2001 in Sydney.

    “I have no clue how I played so well in the second set," said Tsitsipas. "I have no idea. I think my mind was at ease and I wasn’t really thinking of much, which led to such a great performance in the second set, breaking him twice,” said Tsitsipas. “I didn’t give him much options to play with in the second set. It was pretty much an excellent set for me.

    “It was pretty frustrating for me to be playing with such nerves for the first time in such a big event. I was a break up, I couldn’t manage to hold it. Things were decided in the tie-break and I am so relieved by this outstanding performance and fight that I gave out on the court.

    “[The crowd support] is just phenomenal, having such an army behind me while I am on the court. They give me so much energy. They give me belief that I can achieve the things I want to achieve on the court. They motivate me. They just give me so much energy in general and I just love that. I would like to thank every single one [of the fans] who came here to support me today with the Greek flags. They made it feel like home.”

    Hold it high, @StefTsitsipas πŸ†

    Your 2019 #NittoATPFinals champion πŸ‘

    πŸŽ₯: @TennisTV pic.twitter.com/XpnMcr4Vst

    — ATP Tour (@atptour) November 17, 2019

    This is the fourth straight year that a first-time season finale titlist has been crowned, following in the footsteps of Andy Murray (2016), Grigor Dimitrov (2017) and Alexander Zverev (2018). The last time this happened in the tournament’s history was from 1988-1991 with Boris Becker (1988), Stefan Edberg (1989), Andre Agassi (1990) and Pete Sampras (1991) winning the title.

    Tsitsipas, who earned $2,656,000 in prize money and 1,300 ATP Rankings points in five matches this week, is also the first player since David Nalbandian in 2005 to recover from losing the opening set and claim the title. Fourteen years ago, Nalbandian recovered from two sets down against Roger Federer to win the five-set 2005 final in Shanghai.

    “It’s been a rollercoaster," said Tsitsipas. "Holding this trophy right now feels amazing… This tournament has been unbelievable guys, you made it so, so emotional. I have never received so much support in a stage like that, ever. Honestly, I owe it all to you, most of it to you. Overall, the atmosphere this week was unbelievable.”

    The 21-year-old Tsitsipas adds the Nitto ATP Finals crown to titles at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille (d. Kukushkin) in February and also at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas) in May. He was also runner-up at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (l. to Federer) in February, the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Djokovic) and in Beijing. He ends the season with a 54-25 record, having gone 4-1 during the week at The O2 in London.

    Tsitsipas first came to the Nitto ATP Finals in November 2016 as a hitting partner for the leading professionals, including Thiem.

    When asked in his post-final press conference, Tsitsipas recalled, β€œThat is unbelievable. I just remembered. First time I met Dominic was I came here as a sparring partner, was No. 1 ranked in the juniors rankings. I got invited by the ITF to come and be a sparring partner here in the Finals.

    β€œI think my first hit was with Dominic. It's unbelievable, isn't it? We are now facing each other in the final. It's great. It's fantastic. [He has] a tremendous amount of respect from me for what he's been achieving all those years.”

    THE NEW KING OF LONDON πŸ‘‘

    πŸ‡¬πŸ‡· @StefTsitsipas becomes the first Greek player to win the #NittoATPFinals πŸ™Œ

    πŸŽ₯: @TennisTV pic.twitter.com/vgqwdbfQiS

    — ATP Tour (@atptour) November 17, 2019

    In the opening exchanges, both players engaged in long rallies, but showed willingness to attack the net on the fast indoor court. Tsitsipas came close to the first breakthrough, but Thiem struck a powerful backhand at 1-2, 30/40.

    As rallies began to get drawn out, Thiem began to make inroads, but Tsitsipas – who saved 11 of 12 break points in his semi-final win over Roger Federer on Saturday – held firm in the seventh game, saving two break points with gutsy net play for a 4-3 advantage. Thiem then recovered from 15/40, with an ace and a forehand volley winner on the stretch to level the scoreline.

    In an inevitable tie-break, Thiem stepped up, ripping through his forehands and attacking the net to keep Tsitsipas behind the baseline. Soon, the Austrian had a 3/0 lead, but Tsitsipas’ serve held up and he recovered to 5/5. Tsitsipas saved a set point at 5/6 by approaching the net for a volley and smash winner, but Thiem clinched his second set point with a powerful serve that Tsitsipas returned into the net.

    Tsitsipas was undeterred. The youngest finalist since Juan Martin del Potro (21) in 2009 (l. to Davydenko), regrouped and was handed the first game of the second set by Thiem, who mis-hit a forehand, and later moved to a double-break advantage after hitting volley and forehand winners. Clean ball striking — 10 winners to one unforced errors — from Tsitsipas meant that their seventh FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting was decided by a third set. Last month, Thiem beat Tsitsipas 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the China Open final in Beijing.

    Having saved two break points in the first game of the decider, Thiem came under pressure once again at 1-1, but as the Austrian’s backhand faltered, Tsitsipas carried the momentum to a 3-1 advantage. Thiem immediately bounced back to win three straight games, but in the deciding set tie-break — the first since 2005 — Tsitsipas surged to a 4/0 lead. While Thiem recovered to 4/4, he later hit a forehand into the net at 5/6. Tsitsipas didn’t need a second invitation to close out the biggest victory of his career. The Greek hit nine aces and won 50 of 60 first-service points.

    It was the fourth time in 50 editions of the Nitto ATP Finals that a title match was decided on a final-set tie-break (also 1988, 1995 and 2005).

    During the trophy presentation ceremony, Tsitsipas praised Thiem, saying: “[Dominic], you have been an inspiration. Not just for me, but for many other players around the world I am sure and for the people that come to watch,. It is truly magnificent, this fight we put out today on this court. I think it makes our sport great. Tennis is all about this.”

    The 26-year-old Thiem, who’d been aiming to capture an ATP Tour-best sixth trophy of 2019, will finish at a year-end No. 4 in the ATP Rankings and with a 49-19 match record. He went 3-2 this week at The O2 in London and earn $1,302,000 in prize money and 800 ATP Rankings points.



  • Getting The Band Back Together: Mahut/Herbert To Continue Reunion Tour

    After squandering a championship point in last year’s Nitto ATP Finals, the pure joy on the faces of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut was palpable as they walked off centre court at The O2 as champions in London.

    Friends and family gathered in the locker room and waited for the Frenchmen to arrive. The vast entourage surpassed the number of champagne glasses available for everyone. When Herbert and Mahut entered, the group cheered in unison as the champions raised their fists in triumph.Herbert Nitto ATP Finals 2019 celebration

    Mahut leapt into the arms of his coach and Herbert kissed his fiancée, Julia. The champagne flowed freely as they gave toasts thanking their loved one for supporting them throughout the year, with each speech earning a rousing reception. Having suffered painful defeats in each of their past three appearances at The O2, they were eager to make the most of their celebration.

    “We’ve been through a lot of emotions on this court. The first three years were catastrophic,” said Herbert. “Last year, one point was missing. Now we’ve managed to win it, so it’s just amazing.”

    Prevailing at the season finale was particularly meaningful because it wasn’t a guarantee that the Frenchmen would be back. After winning the Australian Open in January (d. Kontinen/Peers) and becoming the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam, Herbert shifted his focus to singles. They only teamed up five more times leading into the Rolex Paris Masters in October, posting a 4-5 record.

    But after Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies clinched their spot in the season-ending championships, Herbert and Mahut qualified in accordance to the Grand Slam rule. Buoyed by earning their fifth successive appearance at The O2, the Frenchmen found their groove and took the title in Paris without dropping a set (d. Khachanov/Rublev).

    They matched that effort in London by winning another five matches without dropping a set, becoming the first team to achieve the feat since Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

    “It’s an amazing feeling. Last year was a little bit painful,” Mahut admitted. “The first goal was to qualify and the second goal was to go through to the end. We played an amazing week and the final was our best match.

    ”It’s a privilege. We had a tough year, but we came back stronger, so it’s a nice way to finish the season.”

    Herbert vowed that their end-of-season reunion wasn’t a mere nostalgia moment. The Frenchmen will team up again next season and already have an eye on defending their title at The O2.

    “We’re going to play, for sure!” Herbert said. “We’re going to try to be as competitive as we were this week. That’s the goal.”



  • Herbert/Mahut Clinch Nitto ATP Finals Doubles Crown

    One year ago, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut came within one point of lifting the Nitto ATP Finals trophy for the first time. When presented with a second chance on Sunday, the Frenchmen finally claimed the crown at The O2 with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus.

    β€œIt is pretty special [to win this trophy]. Maybe, for doubles, it is one of the toughest tournaments to win,” said Herbert. β€œAfter our story in London β€” we had three really tough years and last year we had a match point in the final β€” being able to win here is an amazing feeling.”

    The seventh seeds notched their ninth straight victory to lift the trophy after 70 minutes, saving all four break points they faced. Mahut and Herbert have won all 18 sets they have contested since arriving at the Rolex Paris Masters last month. The career Grand Slam winners are the first team to lift the trophy at The O2 without dropping a set since Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

    β€œWe had a great week in Bercy and we really played well in the group stage,” said Mahut. β€œThe final was maybe the best match we played during the week. It is fantastic to finish with this high-quality tennis.”

    2018: πŸ₯ˆ
    2019: πŸ₯‡
    @p2hugz & @nmahut have won the #NittoATPFinals without dropping a set!

    πŸŽ₯: @TennisTV pic.twitter.com/ANrwxqG2un

    — ATP Tour (@atptour) November 17, 2019

    [WATCH LIVE 1]

    Herbert and Mahut become the first French team to capture the season-ending crown since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who triumphed in 2005 in Shanghai. This is their 15th tour-level trophy as a team, adding to 2019 crowns at the Australian Open and Rolex Paris Masters. With their Australian Open trophy in January, Herbert and Mahut became only the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam.

    "Thank you for sharing the court with me, for having so much enjoyable moments and giving me so much joy when I am with you on the court," said Herbert, on playing with Mahut. "You played an unbelievable final, so thank you for that."

    With their 10th victory in 18 matches at this event, Herbert and Mahut improve to 19-5 this season. The Frenchmen collect 1,500 ATP Doubles Rankings points for their unbeaten title run in London and share $533,000 in prize money.

    The Frenchmen broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set, as Herbert attacked Klaasen with a series of low backhands to extract errors from the 37-year-old. The seventh seeds maintained their advantage through to 5-3, when Herbert fired an ace out wide to clinch the opener after 33 minutes.

    After Mahut saved break point at 2-3 in the second set with a powerful body serve, the Frenchmen made their move in the following game. In the first two points, both players fired return winners before Klaasen double-faulted to concede the break. Mahut used a familiar serving tactic on championship point, firing into the body of Venus to clinch the title.

    "Thank you Julia for saying yes!" πŸ’@p2hugz announces on court he and his girlfriend Julia will be getting married ❀

    πŸŽ₯: @TennisTV #NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/WuaCCLlPOm

    — ATP Tour (@atptour) November 17, 2019

    Two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion Max Mirnyi carried the trophy on court for the doubles trophy presentation ceremony. The Belarusian had the honour, alongside Jonas Bjorkman, of having one of two round-robin groups named after him at this year’s event. Mirnyi was joined on court by ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode, Nitto ATP Finals Event Director Adam Hogg, AEG Europe President and CEO Alex Hill and Nitto President, CEO and COO Hideo Takasaki.

    "We won the Max Mirnyi group and today we won the final in front of you, Max, so it is a priviledge," said Mahut. "You are such a legend and we are really happy to win in front of you. Thank you, Max, for coming."

    After saving two match points in their semi-final win against Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, Klaasen and Venus were attempting to capture their third title of the year. The fifth seeds lifted ATP 500 trophies in Halle and Washington, D.C and also reached finals in Auckland and Rome. Klaasen and Venus leave London with 800 ATP Doubles Rankings points and will split $289,000.

    Ridiculous angle from Michael Venus 🧐

    Watch finals day at the #NittoATPFinals on @TennisTV. pic.twitter.com/3x2XPczoz8

    — ATP Tour (@atptour) November 17, 2019