Grigor Dimitrov vs Dominic Thiem LIVE from the O2 Arena
Dimtirov has never played at the ATP World Tour Finals, having reached his career-high ranking of No 6 earlier this month.
The Bulgarian is in the form of his life having captured three titles in 2017 and also made a run to the semi-final of the Australian Open, where he was beaten by Rafael Nadal, whom he will face later this week.
Thiem meanwhile is hardly a veteran of the tournament – the Austrian made his debut last year in London and lost twice including a remarkable three-setter against Novak Djokovic 7-6, 0-6, 2-6.
With Nadal expected to top the group, these two and David Goffin are likely to be scrapping it out for the second semi-final spot. So who can seize the advantage?
Grigor Dimitrov vs Dominic Thiem LIVE: Latest ATP World Tour Finals updates
(* denotes next to serve)
*Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 4-3 Thiem
What did I say about the willingness to come forward? That is special, special tennis. Dimitrov has to pull a backhand volley off his toes right up against the net. He has to stagger to stop himself running into it. I can’t actually believe he’s managed that and on break point too.
That could be the decisive moment.
Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 3-3 Thiem*
This is becoming a baseline slugfest which Dimitrov is marginally winning – and his eagerness to come forward is really helping, as he levels the score with another well-placed slice volley.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 2-3 Thiem
Thiem massages his unforced error count to find himself two break points behind, with first serves all of a sudden at a premium again. He saves the first in a hard-working rally where he covers most of the court before Dimitrov batters a second serve into the net.
An ace and an unreturned serve later and it’s game Thiem. Gutsy, gutsy hold.
Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7,2-2 Thiem*
Thiem is much closer to the baseline on second serve now and it allows him to get more involved in the point. It proves as much at 40-0 when he can force Dimitrov into an unforced error.
He then plays three drop volleys before Dimitrov resorts to the lob which just about gets the job done.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 1-2 Thiem
It’s almost another love hold for Thiem but a massive serve at 40-15 does the trick and he holds again. I hate to go on about it, but this is so very different from the first set.
The Austrian has his right shoe off and there is a nasty bloody blister on his big toe I think. Not called for the doctor or anything though.
Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 1-1 Thiem*
This is turning into an absolute doozy of a tennis match, you know. Thiem has started to play well and Dimitrov remains one of the best players to watch when on song. He comes to the net and plays a simply ridiculous touch volley to win the game and level the set. We said these two might be tough to separate!
*Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 0-1 Thiem
It really is night nad day between this Thiem and the one who walked out two hours ago. He curves a stunning forehand plumb onto the line to emphasise the point and holds to love again to start the second set.
Dominic Thiem rallied to win the second set
DOMINIC THIEM WINS THE SECONT SET 7-5
A wayward backhand from Dimitrov gives Thiem a sniff at 0-30 for the third time in the set and this time, it’s Dimitrov who frames a forehand long to bring up three set points.
The Bulgarian puts an inside-out forehand wide down the line and that is Thiem’s set! What a fightback.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 5-6 Thiem
Dimitrov is handed the first break point of the set after a double-fault and a framed backhand but Thiem responds in style, with a forehand winner and a fierce ace.
One more winner and Thiem holds with a clenched fist and a determined look, to the delight of the crowd who simply don’t want this to end.
Dimitrov 6-3, 5-5 Thiem*
That’s really special from Dimitrov to start the game as Thiem blasts a backhand at him at the net, only to see it volleyed back past him into the opposite corner. Dimitrov holds to love but an odd end. Thiem FINALLY comes forward on a second serve but Dimitrov handles the solid return and Thiem misses. Despite the result, you’d that has to be how Thiem should approach this.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 4-5 Thiem
More good serving from Thiem but there is also an improvement on the ground as he starts to be pro-active, rather than reactive, in rallies. A love hold which should continue to nurture some confidence in him.
Dimitrov 6-3, 4-4 Thiem*
Lovely, clinical, well-executed tennis from Dimitrov, who comes to the net three times in a row and opens up a 40-0 lead in the set. He is almost confused when he misses a backhand to win the game but next point he’s at the net again and Thiem flies the pass long.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 3-4 Thiem
It’s another love hold for Thiem, whose first-serve percentage is up to 53 now, but his deep position on the Dimitrov second serve is continuing to hurt him. He doesn’t HAVE to break in this set of course but eventually, he’ll need to make an impact.
Dimitrov 6-3, 3-3 Thiem*
Deja vu all over again for Thiem, who forces 0-30 and finds Dimitrov upping his level. I could watch that backhand all day you know. That said, I’d rather not watch his second serve too much. That’s double fault No 4 to bring up deuce.
However, that is a fabulous inside-out forehand that reminds everyone why we used to call Dimitrov mini-Federer and he follows it with another kick second serve that Thiem can’t handle.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 2-3 Thiem
After the failure to break or even force a chance, that’s a show of character from Thiem, to hold and do so comfortably. He must try to keep the pressure on.
Dimitrov 6-3, 2-2 Thiem*
Thiem finally gets a handhold in a Dimitrov service game only for the Bulgarian to produce a fizzing, fourth ace of the match followed by a 13th winner. Another big serve gives him game point but Thiem hangs tough in a long rally to force deuce. But the next rally sees him net and Dimitrov holds with another spinny second serve.
Very strong from Dimitrov, under pressure on serve for the first time.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 1-2 Thiem
Thiem’s best service game of the match sees him hold to 15, only a classic Dimitrov backhand winner smudging the game. An ace seals it and the Austrian fans will hope this is the start of something.
Dimitrov 6-3, 1-1 Thiem*
Remember how good Dimtrov’s serving was in the first set? Well it’s a little more leaky in that opening game of the second. He misses four out of six but still manages to hold.
*Dimitrov 6-3, 0-1 Thiem
Marginally better from Thiem, who makes three of five first serves while he holds to 15, mostly thanks to three unforced errors from Dimitrov. Thiem must keep himself sharp and ready to pounce if Dimitrov’s level drops.
Grigor Dimitrov was imperious from the baseline
GRIGOR DIMITROV WINS THE FIRST SET 6-3
Superlative serving from Dimitrov, who holds to love to seal the first set in just under 40 minutes. The killer blow actually comes off a second serve that spits violently off the court and forces Thiem to fly the return long.
That first set is no more than the Bulgarian deserves for his 16 of 18 points won on first serve while Thiem missed seven in a row to start the set.
*Dimtrov 5-3 Thiem
Thiem is trying to trade baseline bruisers with Dimitrov. Intrigued to see how that works out given how sweetly Dimtrov is hitting the ball. In this game, it’s basically a wash but Thiem finds a big first serve at the exact right moment to take the game and force Dimitrov to serve for it.
Dimitrov 5-2 Thiem*
Thiem forlornly challenges a big serve at 30-30 but as he has already many times in this set, Dimitrov has found the line. Superb serving and he consolidates seconds later.
“Grigor, Grigor,” the crowd chant. Brilliant first set.
*Dimitrov 4-2 Thiem
Thiem curves a forehand long to find himself 15-30 down and with Dimitrov standing well inside the baseline, he shoves his second serve long too. The Austrian saves the first break point with an unreturnable serve down the middle but when Dimtrov blocks a slice-backhand into the court, he whips anothr forehand long and that is the first break.
Dimitrov 3-2 Thiem*
The first serve of Dimitrov continues to be impressive, even if the second serve has missed its mark twice now. Thiem has resorted to sitting deeper behind the baseline but with so much spin on those serves there remains little he can do.
*Dimitrov 2-2 Thiem
Brilliant court coverage from Dimitrov, who really has worked on his physicality, to make it 0-15 but Thiem steels himself and produces a 131mph ace.
At 40-15, there’s another classic Dimitrov backhand return and on the next point he goes again, mid-rally, but it’s called out, with which Hawkeye agrees. Game Thiem, but once again, not comfortably.
Dimitrov 2-1 Thiem*
So we get to the first changeover as scheduled. Dimitrov has missed just two first serves – by contrast, Thiem has only made three for a 25 per cent success rate.
*Dimitrov 1-1 Thiem
If you’re looking for an attractive game of tennis, this might be the one for you. Dimitrov unleashes another brilliant backhand winner off the Thiem first serve before the Austrian shows him a tricky of his own, running round the ball to bend a forehand winner down the line. But Thiem has to go through a number of deuces and save a break point before he can hold.
Dimitrov 1-0 Thiem*
Dimitrov just feeling his way into this match and looks pretty frustrated when he’s told he has served a double-fault – only for Hawkeye to show that he hasn’t. With some irony, he then double-faults again with no Hawkeye to save him!
A brilliant single-handed backhand winner down the line seals an eventful hold for the Bulgarian.
2pm: Right! That doubles match, which saw Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares beaten by those pesky Bryan brothers, finished almost perfectly on time so Thiem and Dimitrov will be out on court any minute now for their clash.
They have only played each other three times and their meetings on hard courts have been split while their most recent clash came in the last 16 of the Madrid Masters, with Thiem triumphing in a third-set tie-break on the clay.
It all points to a relatively tight match between these two entertaining players.