Thiem conquers Nadal in ATP Finals classic

·2-min read

Dominic Thiem rated his victory over Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals as one of the best performances of his career.

After a brilliant contest full of intensity and explosive shot-making, it was US Open champion Thiem who emerged a 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) winner.

A 6-1 4-6 7-6 (8-6) victory for defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas over Andrey Rublev in Tuesday's evening match sent Thiem through to the semi-finals before his final group match against the Russian debutant on Thursday.

The Thiem-Nadal match was on another level and the only shame was that there were no fans in The O2 to see it.

Thiem staved off two Nadal two set points before he grabbed the opening tiebreaker.

Nadal saved three match points when serving at 4-5 in the second before Thiem prevailed on his fifth match point after two hours and 25 minute of breathtaking tennis.

"It's definitely one of the better matches I've played so far in my career," World No.3 Thiem.

"I think it came close to the second group match of last year against Nole (Novak Djokovic).

"I think we both played great tennis. Very, very small things make the difference...

"It was maybe the best match from me since the restart of the tour and that makes me super happy."

Despite losing the match, Nadal was left with positive feelings about his chances of winning a first ATP Finals title.

"It has been a great match of tennis decided for a few small details," the Spanish world No.2 said.

"Just well done to him. He played I think an amazing match, and I played well too."

"My feeling is not negative... I think my chances are bigger to have a very good result now than five days ago because the level of tennis, even if I lost today, is much higher."

Tsitsipas will battle it out with Nadal for a place in the last four after the greek saved a match point to beat Rublev.

"It was an unbelievable match from both sides," Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.

"We produced some incredible tennis. The relief at the very end of putting all that effort and all that fight on the court paid off."