The biggest card of the round robin stage was played at the O2 on Tuesday. Nadal versus Thiem always is a tasty one. Dominic probably has become better player after those French Open Final defeats in 2018 and 2019 especially on hard courts.The match lit up first in the 6th game of the first set with both players trading blows(Nadal’s trademark forehand winner versus Thiem’s backhand).With the set now in a tie breaker,the Spaniard pounced on weak volleys at the net from Thiem to take control of the breaker 5-2. The Austrian fought back to 7-7 with some great hitting making Nadal work harder to make returns.Dominic closed out the set 9-7 in the breaker with a monster forehand which Nadal could only watch.
In the second Thiem and Nadal traded breaks in the 7th and 8th game. Rafa was in trouble in the 10th game serving to stay in the match at 5-4. He rallied to save 2 match points at 15-40 albeit with the help of the net cord. Another tie breaker will ensue with Thiem seizing the advantage at 3-3 with a majestic backhand winner. Afterwards Thiem was all over Nadal and sensing blood he went 6-3 up courtesy of yet another forehand winner.Nadal was a beaten man. 7-6 to Thiem in the final set.
In the other group match Andrey Rublev battled from a set down against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and won the match via a 3rd set tie break(8-6).