The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals in London is finally underway, and the first round of matches featured some strong performances from the top seeds.
The opening match of the tournament saw Dominic Thiem avenge his ATP Finals championship match loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas last year with a three-set victory. Meanwhile, the top two players in the world — Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal — both strolled to easy straight-sets wins.
Read on below as SBOTOP runs down all the results from the opening round of matches at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Thiem tops Tsitsipas in 2019 Finals rematch
After losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s championship match, Dominic Thiem came out on top in their matchup this time around to begin this year’s tournament with a win.
The reigning US Open champion overcame the defending ATP Finals champion 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes and improved to 5-3 in his career over Tsitsipas. He’s also now 6-2 against Top 10 opponents this season.
“Today was a little bit different [to last year]… [There were] only two breaks in the whole match,” said Thiem. “I think the conditions are pretty fast here, so I am super happy with my win. Every win against a Top 10 player at the Nitto ATP Finals is something special and every win against Stefanos is something special, because he is such a great player. He is established and has won so many big titles already.”
Meanwhile, Tsitsipas — who became the youngest Nitto ATP Finals champion in 18 years last season — became the first defending champion to lose his opening match since Roger Federer in 2008.
Tsitsipas will look to bounce back when he faces Andrey Rublev in his next Group London 2020 match. Tsitsipas is 3-3 in six career matches against Rublev. He won their most recent match, which came in the quarter-finals of the French Open.
Djokovic dominant in win over Schwartzman
Novak Djokovic just doesn’t lose his first match of the Nitto ATP Finals. The World No. 1 won his 12th straight opening match at the season-ending tournament with a dominant 6-3, 6-2 victory over debutant Diego Schwartzman, who was the last player to book his place for London.
Djokovic has only lost his opening ATP Finals match once, which came in his debut in 2007.
Djokovic, who was playing his first match since losing to Lorenzo Sonego in the quarter-finals of the Erste Bank Open, had a bit of a rocky start as his serve was broken by Schwartzman in the third game. But he immediately broke back and had relatively few problems moving forward.
“The beginning of the match wasn’t that great for me. He broke my serve in the third game and I managed to break [back]. It was a close encounter until I broke his serve at 4-3 and managed to close out the first set,” said Djokovic.
”In the second set, I started swinging through the ball a little more [with] a bit less hesitation from both corners. I was very pleased with the way I played, especially in the second set.”
Djokovic will face Alexander Zverev in his next Group Tokyo 1970 match. Djokovic is 3-2 in his career against Zverev, who beat the Serb in the ATP Finals championship match in 2018.
Rafa Nadal rolls past Andrey Rublev
Similarly, Rafael Nadal made relatively short work of another debutant as he rolled past Russian Andrey Rublev to win his first match of the Nitto ATP Finals, 6-3, 6-4.
It was quite a statement victory by the Spaniard, who is eager to make Nitto ATP Finals 2020 highlights en route to winning the title for the first time in his illustrious career.
“It’s important to start well, of course, for the confidence, because winning [in] straight sets helps,” Nadal said. “The serve tonight was very important. I played solidly with my serve. I didn’t suffer much, and that helps [me] to play more relaxed on the return. That’s what I did.”
The World No. 2, who was taking part in his record 16th straight ATP Finals, looked significantly more composed than his 23-year-old counterpart, who did not show the fine form he had played with since the season restarted.
Nadal’s next group match will be against Dominic Thiem, who owns five wins in 14 matches against the Spaniard. Thiem beat Nadal in their most recent meeting in the quarter-finals of this year’s Australian Open.
Medvedev gets better of Zverev again
Daniil Medvedev suddenly has Alexander Zverev’s number. After beating Zverev in the final of the Paris Masters just over a week ago, Medvedev got the better of the German again in their opening ATP Finals match, 6-3, 6-4.
It was Medvedev’s first win in the season-ending tournament; he went a disappointing 0-3 in his ATP Finals debut last year. He also improved to 3-5 over Zverev, who won five of their first six matches.
The Nitto ATP Finals 2020 betting odds should favour Medvedev to make it two wins in a row when he faces Diego Schwartzman. Medvedev is a perfect 4-0 in his career against the Argentine, including 2-0 this year.
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