Rafael Nadal’s loss in the semifinals means he won’t win the tournament this year either.
Power sometimes changes very slowly. In men’s professional tennis, it changes particularly slowly, but the year filled by the coronavirus made a significant change in the sport.
This alone is an indication of the coming of new players to Austria Dominic Thiem and Russia Daniil Medvedev will face in the final of the ATP final tournament.
Thiem cleared the world’s number one player Novak Djokovićin his way in the semi-finals of the ATP finals, even though he lost the match balls in the second round. The match numbers were recorded for Thiem 7-5, 6-7, 7-6.
Still in the third round cutout, Thiem was at a loss of 0-4, but kept his nerves in check and turned the match on for himself.
“His rise from 0 to 4 was unreal. And I mean, I don’t think I played badly. He just ran the ball away and took the match from me, ”Djoković said on the ATP website. “Hat off and my congratulations.”
Yet a bigger surprise came when Medvedev, 24, overthrew the Spanish Rafael Nadalin in the semifinals 3–6, 7–6, 6–3.
Medvedev had never defeated Nadal, and the setup was not very easy in London either. Medvedev lost the first and lost another 4-5 when Nadal got a match win.
Nadal, 34, and Medvedev, 24, had faced three times in their careers and Nadal took away every match. Of these, the final of the US Open in the fall of 2019 was the most memorable, with Medvedev turning a 0-2 loss and stretching the match to five innings.
The tenacious Medvedev broke Nadal’s pass cleanly, turned the match into a third set after the cut-off, and marched to the final.
The ATP Finals has never been Nadal’s favorite tournament. He had never won the event and therefore did not win now.
Second a big sign of the slow transition of tennis power to players under the age of 30 was Thiem’s championship at this year’s US Open. Nadal was absent from the tournament due to caution with the coronavirus and Djoković was dismissed after accidentally hitting the ball in the line referee’s throat, but these will dim Thiem’s victory little, if at all.
Thiem, 27, has been this year’s name in men’s professional tennis. He lost the final of the Australian Championship to Djoković, but gave back at least to the same extent in London.
Only Winning the US Open was a significant pile for Thiem and all of tennis. Until now, no player born in the 1990s had won a grand slam tournament. Now that magic also broke.
If the coronavirus helped Thiem a touch, he himself has done by far the greatest work.
Statistics for 2019 and 2020 show that Thiem has risen at least alongside Djoković and Nadal, if not by as much as one pass.
Roger Federer against Thiem leads victories 3-0 in the last two statistics. The score against Nadal is 3-1 for Thiem and the semi-final win turned the lineup against Djokovic to the Austrian 3-2.
One of the ATP finals hasn’t yet rocked the power of tennis, but the faltering began as early as last year when Greece Stefanos Tsitsipas captured the London scepter and beat Thiem in the final.
Or perhaps the first earthquakes came as early as 2018, when a young German Alexander Zverev overthrew Djoković in the final.
In its own way with technology, hitting the ball Medvedev is a special case. The essence of a 198-centimeter player can make it hard to read what’s going on, but tactically he’s excellent. He finds angles to his strokes that don’t even seem to exist.
In London, Medvedev has so far defeated the world’s number one, Djoković, and the number two, Nadal.
The final allows for a straight flush, i.e. bundling the top three in the world, as Thiem holds third place on the ATP list.
Argentina David Nalbandian was the first player to win Federer (then ATP-1), Djoković (3) and Nadal (2) in the same tournament. The feat took place at the 2007 Madrid Masters.
If you switch to Federer’s Dominic Thiem, Medvedev has a chance at a similar jackpot.