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Thiem vs Berrettini tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can eliminated Berrettini salvage some pride with an ATP Finals win over Thiem?

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 13 Nov 2019
  • Dominic Thiem faces Matteo Berrettini in the round-robin stages of the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday
  • Thiem vs Berrettini is live from London's O2 Arena on Thursday at 2pm local/GMT
Dominic Thiem (PA Sports)

Dominic Thiem has already qualified for the semifinals after two sensational wins at the O2 Arena – can Matteo Berrettini find a way to get his first ATP Finals win and save some face?

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Can Matteo Berrettini salvage some pride and get a win on his Nitto ATP Finals debut as he takes on the already-qualified Dominic Thiem on Thursday?

Thiem celebrates victory over Novak Djokovic (PA Images)
Thiem’s fourth appearance at the ATP Finals is only two matches old and has already seen the Austrian record a milestone achievement: For the first time he will feature on semifinal Saturday at the O2 Arena after (another first) securing multiple wins during the round-robin stage.

It's hard to see how Thiem’s week so far could have been improved as the French Open finalist has once again demonstrated how much he has improved on hard courts in 2019 under the tutelage of Nicolas Massu, scoring back-to-back wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Thiem’s 7-5, 7-5 win over Federer was an impressive one, but he had beaten Federer on hard courts before – in a dramatic Indian Wells final to win his first Masters 1000 Series title in March – and while Thiem served and returned very well, Federer did help him out with a slow start and crucial errors (or failure to come up with his usual brilliance at certain points) at the climactic stages of both sets.

Despite the calibre of the opposition, it didn’t really compare to Thiem’s narrow three-set win over Djokovic. The 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Djokovic, which took two hours and 50 minutes and was Thiem’s first victory over the Serb on hard courts, wasn’t just a huge milestone win for Thiem but was one of the best men’s tennis matches I’ve seen all season. Djokovic played very well but was narrowly out-duelled by an exceptional display of baseline ballstriking from Thiem which was reminiscent of Stan Wawrinka at his best.

If there was a criticism to be made of Djokovic’s performance on Tuesday, it’s that he let Thiem off the hook when he, Djokovic, had a 4-1 lead in the third-set tie-break. But Thiem had twice been up a break in the decider, including serving for the match at 6-5, so it was not entirely against the run of play to see Thiem come back from that 1-4 deficit in the tie-break and claim one of his best wins so far.

‘It was maybe the best match I’ve ever played,’ Thiem said. ‘It was a real classic and epic match, which will happen from time to time at these big tournaments.’

Berrettini, meanwhile, has been having the kind of week that Thiem is more used to undergoing at the O2 Arena. The Italian, one of three first-timers in the field but the only one in Group Bjorn Borg, is now 0-2 in matches and 0-4 in sets after a one-sided opening defeat to Djokovic 2-6, 1-6 was followed by a more competitive straight-sets loss to Federer 6-7(2), 3-6.

Matteo Berrettini (PA Sports)
Considering that Federer had absolutely trounced Berrettini in their own previous encounter, which was in the fourth round of Wimbledon in July and was so one-sided that Berrettini ended up jokingly asking Federer at the net what he owed him for the lesson, the scoreline of Tuesday’s encounter was actually very respectable and the big-serving Berrettini kept it very close. There was just one break point in the first set, which Berrettini saved to take the set into a tie-break only to miss a crucial forehand and give up an early mini-break, which Federer refused to relinquish; and while Berrettini was broken early in the second set, he had three points to break back midway through the set. He was ultimately unable to convert those break points, but it was a competitive clash and a vast improvement for Berrettini on their previous encounter.

It also represented a step up in this tournament from Berrettini’s 2-6, 1-6 defeat to Djokovic, and although the more competitive scoreline against Federer definitely had something to do with how well the respective opposition was playing, for me Berrettini’s nerves had also settled from his opening match and he looked a lot more ready to compete at this level.

Can Berrettini get his first ATP Finals match win – which would be a first for any Italian – on Thursday? It’s more likely than you might think. For one thing, while Thiem leads the head-to-head 2-1, Berrettini scored a significant victory over Thiem at the Shanghai Masters 7-6(8), 6-4, and the Italian also took a set in both of their other encounters. Berrettini’s serve to Thiem’s backhand has traditionally worked quite well, although it doesn’t seem to be at its best on these courts.

There’s also the fact that Thiem has nothing really to play for (well, nothing except ranking points and prize money, but nothing in terms of progressing through the tournament). He’s already secured his place in the semifinals, and while I doubt he will consciously go into the match planning to save himself, a letdown from the emotional and physical pitch he wrought himself up to in the Djokovic and Federer matches would not be a surprise. Should Berrettini take the first set especially, Thiem has nothing really to gain by pushing himself to come back and win in three, and that might well open up opportunities for the Italian to record his first ATP Finals win on Thursday.

Thiem vs Berrettini Nitto ATP Finals tennis is live from London’s O2 Arena on Thursday at 2pm local/GMT  

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Thiem vs Berrettini tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can eliminated Berrettini salvage some pride with an ATP Finals win over Thiem?

Dominic Thiem vs Matteo Berrettini live streaming, preview and predictions for the Nitto ATP Finals round-robin match on Thursday 14 November: With Thiem already guaranteed a place in the semifinals in London, can Berrettini sneak a face-saving victory?

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