Dominic Thiem survived a near three-hour thriller against Novak Djokovic, beating him 7-5, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5) in the semi-finals to reach his second straight final at the ATP Finals.
The US Open champion recovered from a second set wobble and a 0-4 deficit in the third set tie-break to script victory in two hours 54 minutes.
This was also Thiem’s 300th match win on the ATP Tour.
With the only surviving winner of the ATP Finals, Djokovic, going out a new champion is guaranteed at the elite eight-man event this time. Thiem will take on the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev in the summit clash on Sunday.
It's back-to-back finals in London for @ThiemDomi! 👏
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 21, 2020
Thiem almost let the match slip through his grasp, as he squandered three match points in the second set. The 27-year-old was serving for the match at 7-6 in the second set tie-breaker but hit a double fault.
“It was for sure a mental battle,” said Thiem in the on-court interview.
“I got so tight in the second-set tie-break because to play these legends is always going to be something special.
“Playing for the final here at the Nitto ATP Finals is also something very special and I thought that after my first big title in New York, maybe I’m going to be a little bit more calm, but that was a mistake, I guess. I was just as tight and as nervous as before.
“It was so much on the edge that match, like every single match here. The best players in the world are facing off. So I’m just incredibly happy to be through and just [will] try to get ready for tomorrow.”
The Austrian steadied himself and won his service games with relative ease in the third set. He started the tie-break with a double fault and looked on the verge of an exit when he went down 0-4.
But Thiem won six points in a row, bringing up two more match points with a rocket of backhand crosscourt winner. The Austrian clinched victory on his sixth match point as a Djokovic forehand sailed long.
The Austrian finished the match with a tally of 50 winners and 39 unforced errors while Djokovic hit 23 winners and made 27 unforced errors.