ATP World Tour Finals: Winner Takes All for Raonic v Thiem

 

By Ros Satar at the ATP World Tour Finals, London

  • Milos Raonic [6] v Dominic Thiem [8]
  • Head to Head: Raonic leads 1-0
  • Gael Monfils withdraws – David Goffin will face Novak Djokovic for his final Round Robin match
LONDON, ENGLAND – With Novak Djokovic having qualified, all eyes will be on Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem as they battle for the second place into the semi-finals.

 

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Milos Raonic [6] v Dominic Thiem [8] – H2H: Raonic Leads 1-0

After having to withdraw two years ago with injury Milos Raonic, to any outside observers, was on the same sticky path. He pulled out of his semi-final against Andy Murray in Paris, and spent a scant 12 hours back in Toronto to seek medical advice.

He admitted he had only just started running in the week before the start of the World Tour Finals, so many were taken aback with just how sprightly he was in his opening round win over Gael Monfils.

He had only taken one set off Novak Djokovic in seven previous attempts, but there seemed to be nothing wrong with his movement as he pushed the 12-time Grand Slam champion to two tie-break sets.

Thiem similarly has juggled injury issues all year, and despite a packed schedule and going into the later stages of many tournaments, he told reporters that he believed that had been the key to his position in the London line-up. To that end we can expect to see him racking up tournaments again in 2017.

He said: “Maybe I will play a little less, but also maybe not. I think also the body and the mind and everything gets used to it. It was my first year that I played over 80 matches. Of course, I drop a little bit.

“I think it’s really normal. I think that if I play the same amount of matches and tournaments next year, I will be used to it much better than this year.”

Both (on paper at least) looked as though they were ready to drop prior to the tournament, but the is a spring in Raonic’s step and he could well erase the memories of 2014’s stilted efforts with a second win and a spot in the semi-finals.

He was able to handle the aggressive play from Thiem when they met for the first time in Cincinnati in the quarter-final. Raonic has looked as though his movement is fine, and is likely to have a little more game for Thiem.

Prediction: Raonic in two sets.

 

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Gael Monfils withdraws – David Goffin to face Novak Djokovic

Having admitted he maybe needed anther week to be ready for the World Tour Finals, Monfils finally admitted defeat against his body.

He said: “I can’t play for tomorrow because I still feel worse and worse, my ribs, that I had lately. Yeah, I feel that even yesterday was tough in the game. I feel unfortunately today I couldn’t be feeling great and couldn’t practice, so I just decide that I couldn’t play tomorrow.”

The rib injury was sustained in Stockholm in mid October, and medical advice had set his recovery timer to be six weeks. He had hoped to be ready in two thirds of that, and had really on just started to practice last Monday.

He concluded: “I’m very happy first to be here in the top eight. I think it’s the greatest season I ever done. I can say also I missed quite a lot. Big occasion to play.

“It give[s] me more hope for next year. Definitely I had a lot of big change for me. I think for the new season I will have new changes and hopefully I can be even stronger next year.”

David Goffin will play Djokovic, as the alternate. He trails Djokovic 0-4 in their head to head, and much like Raonic has only take one set off Djokovic. Although the Serbian is assured of his place in the semi-finals – there will be much to play for in this Round Robin match, as the points will keep him very much in contention for the fight for year-end No. 1.

Djokovic and Goffin play not before 2pm, with Raonic at Thiem not before 8pm (all times GMT).

 

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