Tennis - ATP Finals - The O2, London, Britain - November 19, 2020. Russia's Andrey Rublev celebrates winning his group stage match against Austria's Dominic Thiem. REUTERS/Toby Melville
November 19, 2020
LONDON (Reuters) – Russian youngster Andrey Rublev signed off from his maiden ATP Finals in style by beating Dominic Thiem 6-2 7-5 on Thursday.
The aggressive 23-year-old took full advantage of a rather flat performance by Thiem who had already sealed his place in the semi-finals with two wins in the London Group.
Defeats by Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas meant Rublev was playing only for pride although the $153,000 bonus for a group stage win provided a sizeable incentive.
The world number eight, who won a tour-leading five ATP titles this year, put the hammer down from the start, taking a 4-0 lead on his way to winning the opening set.
Rublev grabbed an early break in the second set but faltered at 4-3 when a netted forehand allowed Thiem to level.
But Rublev broke the Austrian world number three again at 5-5 with a thumping forehand and finished the job a game later.
He will look back on a missed opportunity having double-faulted when he held a match point against defending champion Tsitsipas in his second match.
Thiem will shrug off the defeat and now has a day off to prepare for Saturday’s semi-final when he will face either world number one Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev.
Later on Thursday Nadal faces Tsitsipas with the winner joining Thiem in the semi-finals.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)